Putin humiliated: Energy grip on Europe slips as new report pulls rug from under Russia

Boris Johnson outlines plan to phase out Russian oil and gas

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As Russian troops invade Ukraine, the EU has been looking for ways in which they can reduce their reliance on Russian energy. The bloc is heavily dependent on Russian gas, accounting for about 40 percent of its energy needs. The EU looking for ways to increase their energy security, with fears growing that Putin may retaliate to sanctions by turning off Russian gas flows completely.

According to a report by the EU Commission, heat pumps could become a crucial tool for reducing the need for Russian gas exports.

The report found that if the EU doubled installations in the next year, the bloc could reduce the annual need for Russian gas by 1.5 billion cubic metres (bcm).

It is important to note that this is only a small percentage of the 155 bcm that Europe imported from Russia in the past year.

However, an exponential increase in heat pumps can play a major role in securing the continent’s energy, especially when combined with efforts in other sectors.

Earlier this month, the EU promised to end its reliance on Russian fuel “well before 2030”.

The EU Commission also announced plans to reduce imports of Russian gas by two-third by the end of the year.

Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said: “We simply cannot rely on a supplier who explicitly threatens us.

“We need to act now to mitigate the impact of rising energy prices, diversify our gas supply for next winter and accelerate the clean energy transition.”

The Commission aims to double the continent’s yearly heat pump installations and build more than 10 million units over the next five years.

Jan Rosenow, European program director at the Regulatory Assistance Project, predicts that European heat pump factories may face significant challenges boosting their outputs, as the global semiconductor shortage may also prevent them from ramping up fast enough.

However, some observers believe that US President Joe Biden may swoop to the bloc’s rescue and provide additional heat pumps.

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In France, the government has aimed to reduce its dependence on Russian gas by ending subsidies on fossil fuel gas heaters and providing new state support for heat pumps.

To reduce the country’s gas demand, France has announced that it will reform its “MaPrimeRenov” subsidy scheme to promote renewable forms of heating such as heat pumps and biomass heaters, including hybrid systems.

France’s environment minister Barbara Pompili said: “In order to no longer encourage people to remain dependent on gas, support for new gas heater installations will be stopped.

“In the long run, we want to wean ourselves from Russian fossil energy and from fossil energy overall.”

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