Beyond the announcements, what Europe needs to say goodbye to Russian gas

Beyond the announcements, what Europe needs to say goodbye to Russian gas

Beyond the announcements

Fit for 55, ban on diesel engines, RePower Eu. On the environmental front, there is no shortage of announcements from the European Commission, thanks to the urgency to tackle climate change and to break free from Russian gas. But where are we with the various projects? Let's start with the latest program, RePower Eu, presented in recent days. “This is a plan presented by the Commission to get out of dependence on Russian fossil fuels - explains to Davide Panzeri, Europe program manager of the Italian think tank Ecco -. In the aftermath of the war in Ukraine, member states came to Brussels asking for an answer on the question of energy dependence on Moscow. The Commission first outlined the general lines of the RePower Eu plan in the communication of 8 March. Then, on May 18th, he presented it. ”

What is this about the obligation of solar panels decided by Europe It is part of a package, Repower Eu, of 300 billion euros to abandon supplies of Russian gas, increase the contribution from renewable sources and increase energy savings. All the details “RePower Eu is not, however, executive - continues Panzeri -. It consists of many parts, and the bulk of the implementation will be achieved through Fit for 55 ", another package presented between July and December 2021," and still under approval by the Council and Parliament ".

"RePower Eu can be understood as a whole as a proposal to update the Fit for 55 package of July 2021 which increases the ambition of some components, for example the speed of diffusion of renewables" says Panzeri. Among directives and regulations, “some of the proposals contained in Fit for 55 and RePower Eu are new; others are simple revisions of existing legislation ”.

The package follows the so-called "ordinary legislative procedure". At the moment the committees of the Parliament and the Council are evaluating and voting on the various parts, to then converge in a final vote in the Parliament and the Council for each proposal; the outcome will determine the version of the text brought forward by each of the two co-legislators. This will be followed by a three-way negotiation with the Commission (the so-called "trilogue") to find a compromise. Times? The French presidency of the EU Council has expressed its intention to find a common position for the Council by the end of its mandate, that is, June 30, 2022: but the trilogues will probably continue throughout the autumn.

How much China weighs in Europe's mega-plan on solar panels The answer is a lot, because 2020 75% of solar panels imported into Europe came from the Dragon. Brussels has a strategy to get out of this addiction, with some unknowns The consequences of uncertainty: the example of hydrogen Although it is unlikely that Fit for 55 and RePower Eu will not be approved in some form, the problem is what will be left backards . “The Commission has focused a lot on the unity of the package and on the fact that all the proposals contained are necessary gears for the overall functioning of the machine - comments Panzeri. - But it is not yet clear what the compromises and changes to the individual parts will be, some of which have raised some controversy among the Member States. The increase in ambition at the level of renewable targets and energy efficiency contained in RePower Eu would make the package more ambitious and effective in reducing European dependence on gas and achieving climate objectives: but how, and if, this ambition will be incorporated into the package remains yet to be seen ".

The situation described above inevitably complicates the life of companies, which are required to make investment choices with a medium-long term horizon on the basis of announcements that outline scenarios that are essentially yet to be verified, and which could change within a few months. If the result of uncertainty is typically stasis, the deadlines imposed by post-pandemic aid, with pressing roadmaps, are added to counterpoint. Let's take hydrogen, an energy vector particularly suitable for decarbonising the hard to abate sectors and heavy transport by road, rail and ship. In Italy, the industrial world complains of a lack of synergy on the opportunities for use, poor coordination between regions on railway sections of interregional relevance, difficulty in finding the right skills.

"In Italy, the Deputy Minister of Infrastructure Teresa Bellanova has announced that the resources of the PNRR for road and railway trials will amount respectively to 230 and 300 million euros "says Alessandro Viviani, senior consultant of The European House Ambrosetti, a think tank specialized on economic issues and who tries to draw a summa by listening to companies and decision makers. “The first milestone is scheduled for March 2023 - notes the expert -. But in fact, there is still no clarity on what the applicable model could be ". Basically, it is the reasoning, the goal of hurrying is noble; but in practice, there is a risk of meeting deadlines without following a strategic plan that can stand the test of time.

“Companies are always very interested in matters relating to investments - adds Corrado Panzeri, head of Ambrosetti's Innovation and technology hub -. But this type of choice is certainly easier if inscribed in a clear frame of reference. And hydrogen, from the point of view of building an ecosystem, is a completely new topic ". Viviani goes further. "The energy issue must be addressed in a holistic way - he resumes - and it must be admitted that there is a share of consumption that cannot be electrified. Thinking of starting the energy transformation by looking only at green hydrogen (ie produced from renewable sources, editor's note) can be reductive: that produced with non-green technologies can remain part of the process, provided that the carbon dioxide of the process is sequestered ".

To act as a hat to the strategic confusion and the announcement there is the bureaucracy, often stigmatized also by the SMEs, which make up a large part of the European industrial fabric but do not have the internal resources to deal with the complex forms needed to "make" renewables. And so they still don't use them. "The crisis - concludes Viviani - has extended the vulnerability ranges in the energy sector to small and medium-sized enterprises that are not energy-intensive: now it is no longer just a theme of sustainability, but of competitiveness".

Powered by Blogger.