EU Better Prepared To Ensure Energy Security Ahead Of Winter: Report

The European Union is better prepared to ensure its energy security ahead of the winter season, the State of the Energy Union Report 2023 says.

The 27-nation bloc’s gas storage facilities were filled to 95 percent of capacity ahead of the winter of 2022-2023 and currently stand at more than 98 percent full today.

The EU Energy Platform organised three rounds of joint purchase of gas, collecting 44.75bcm of demand and matching it with 52bcm of supply offers

This was made possible due to well-coordinated actions to fill the bloc’s gas storages, diversifying energy import routes and infrastructure, investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency, and collective efforts to reduce energy demand, the European Commission said in the report released on Tuesday.

It looks back on the EU response to the unprecedented energy crisis of the past two years, assesses the state of play with the green transition at national, European and global level, and sets out the challenges and opportunities ahead as Europe pursues its ambitious climate and energy goals for 2030 and 2050.

The Report shows how the European Union responded collectively and effectively to Russia’s war against Ukraine and weaponisation of its energy supplies, by accelerating the clean energy transition, diversifying supplies and saving energy.

The REPowerEU Plan and a series of emergency legislative measures ensured that Europe avoided energy supply disruptions; eased pressure on energy markets, prices and consumers; and pursued the structural reform of its energy system.

The EU drastically reduced its dependence on Russian fossil fuel by phasing out coal imports, reducing oil imports by 90 percent, cutting down gas imports from 155bcm in 2021 to around 80 bcm in 2022 and to an estimated 40-45 bcm in 2023.

In another notable advancement, the EU’s net greenhouse gas emissions decreased by around 3 percent in 2022, reaching a reduction of 32.5 percent compared to 1990 levels.

2022 was a record year for new solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity (+41 GW), which is 60 percent more than in 2021 (+26 GW). New onshore and offshore wind capacity was 45 percent higher than in 2021.

In 2022, 39 percent of electricity was generated by renewables, and in May wind and solar surpassed fossil fuels for the first time in EU electricity generation, according to the report.

While gas prices peaked in August 2022 at €294/MWh, they fell to an average of €44/MWh from January to June 2023. Electricity prices peaked at €474/MWh in August 2022 and fell to average of €107/MWh from January to June 2023.

This year’s Report presents the first assessment of the Progress Reports submitted by Member States on their 2019 National Energy and Climate Plans, which is crucial to take stock of where the EU stands in delivering its climate and energy ambitions.

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