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New article in Energy about policy options for the replacement of Russian natural gas in Europe


NDC ASPECTS's members Panagiotis Fragkos, Dirk-Jan Van de Ven, Eleftheria Zisarou, and Georgios Xexakis have contributed in a study exploring different strategies for decoupling Europe natural gas consumption from Russian-produced gas. The study was a synergy with the Horizon Europe IAM COMPACT and DIAMOND projects and has been published as an open access journal article in Energy.

Russia's invasion of Ukraine fuelled an energy crisis, which considerably impacted Europe given its heavy reliance on Russian natural gas imports. This study uses an ensemble of four global integrated assessment models, which are further soft-linked to two sectoral models, and explores the synergies and trade-offs among three approaches to living without Russian gas in Europe: (a) replacing with other gas imports, (b) boosting domestic energy production, and (c) reducing demand and accelerating energy efficiency.

We find that substituting Russian gas from other trade partners would miss an opportunity to accelerate decarbonisation in end-use sectors while risking further fossil-fuel lock-ins, despite featuring the lowest gas price spikes and potentially reducing heating costs for end-users in the near term. Boosting domestic, primarily renewable, energy production on the other hand would instead require considerable investments, potentially burdening consumers. Energy demand reductions, however, could offer considerable space for further emissions cuts at the lowest power-sector investment costs; nonetheless, an energy efficiency-driven strategy would also risk relocation of energy-intensive industries, an aspect of increasing relevance to EU policymakers.

For more information about the study, read the full paper (link).