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News 16 May 2022

REPowerEU: Eliminating EU dependence on Russian fossil fuels

The latest Policy Brief looks at the REPowerEU Communication, which has become a key tool for the EU energy policy framework and beyond. The Communication discusses the ways the European Union can take to detach itself from dependence on Russian fossil fuels, in order to both help the green transition in the EU and to provide a response to the current Russian invasion of Ukraine. The document will be a powerful instrument in the months to come, as the EU member states will negotiate how far to bring sanctions to Russia and how to respond to possible shortages of supply. 

The Brief presents the main provisions of the EU Commission’s Communication, followed by a broader analysis of the main challenges for energy research in the coming years. The official document focuses mainly on short term solutions to the problem of reducing EU dependence on Russian fossil fuels, mainly looking at wind and solar energy and heat pumps. Nonetheless, the paper tries to go further and explore the role of other energy sources in the coming future. 

Some of the key challenges identified are:

  • Develop further integrated photovoltaics and bring back to the EU the solar supply chain
  • Explore systems integration for larger wind projects, including floating wind
  • Continue developing next-generation nuclear reactors focused on fuel recycling
  • Explore energy system modelling for measures such as transmission capacity increasing
  • Promote solar hybrid projects combining concentrated solar power and PV panels
  • Empower geothermal energy research to further develop ground-based heat pumps