EU Should Focus on Renewables Due to Inability to Replace Russian Gas, Commissioner Says

The European Union needs to accelerate the deployment of renewable energy sources, since the bloc cannot fully replace imports of Russian gas with supplies of fossil fuels from other countries despite the measures taken, EU Commissioner for Energy Kadri Simson said on Monday.

"We cannot simply replace 155 bcm of Russian gas with fossil gas from other suppliers. It [is] neither sustainable nor affordable. So we need to speed the deployment of renewable energy," Simson said after the EU energy council extraordinary meeting.

At the same time, Irish Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications Eaamon Ryan said that the EU needs to focus not on ensuring additional gas supplies but rather on increasing their efficiency.

"A lot of our attention has been on how we could get additional gas supplies. And that's understandable, and that's appropriate but that's limited. What we also need to do is push efficiency in the use of gas," Ryan said ahead of the meeting.

On February 24, Russia began a military operation in Ukraine, responding to calls for help from the breakaway republics of Donetsk and Luhansk. The West responded by imposing comprehensive sanctions against Russia. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the European Union is determined to stop its dependency on Russian gas, accusing Moscow of using energy as a political instrument.

In late March, Russian President Vladimir Putin instructed the government and Russian energy giant Gazprom to switch gas payments by countries that have imposed sanctions on Russia to rubles.

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