Russia's war in Ukraine raises serious concerns about the immediate energy security in Europe with possible far-reaching implications, given the excessive European Union’s dependence from Russian fossil fuels imports. Europe imports nearly 40% of natural gas from Russia. This means that Europe needs to drastically accelerate the clean energy transition and reduce Europe's energy dependence from unreliable suppliers and fossil fuels subject to volatile prices.
In light of the current situation in Ukraine, the recently launched REPowerEU Communication (Joint European action for more affordable, secure and sustainable energy) outlines a plan to make Europe independent from Russian fossil fuels by 2030, starting with gas, aiming to already reduce the EU demand for Russian gas by two thirds before the end of 2022.
The European Union has been supporting investments during the last decade to reduce this dependence. In this context, the Trans-European Networks for Energy (TEN-E policy) and the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) Energy funding programme are extremely important as they promote projects aiming at eliminating dependence on Russian gas imports. One of their main objectives is precisely to enhance the EU security of energy supply by allowing diversification of supply sources, counterparts and routes, and by increasing storage capacity, system resilience and the connection of isolated markets to more diversified supply sources.
Supporting actions to strengthen EU energy infrastructure
Since its launch in 2014, CEF Energy has been supporting the implementation of Projects of Common Interest (PCIs) pursuing these objectives. In the programming period 2014-2020, it has supported more than 20 actions and 13 PCIs aiming at diversifying gas supplies in those EU countries that depend on a single gas supplier (Russia, in most cases) to enable importing gas from other sources and via different routes. Amongst the most important projects are the following:
Gas Interconnection Poland-Lithuania (GIPL): an interconnection between the
The Baltic Pipe: an offshore gas pipeline through the Baltic Sea that will connect the Danish and Polish gas transmission systems and enable gas imports from Norway to Poland. Commissioning of this project is expected before the end of 2022, when contracts of Poland with the main Russian supplier are due to expire.
Balticconnector and EE-LV interconnection: physical interconnections between the Finnish and Estonian gas transmission systems, connecting Finland to the EU gas market, and between Estonia and Latvia to enhance competitiveness and strengthen the liberalisation process of the gas markets in the Baltic States. These new infrastructures, already completed, also contribute to the diversification of routes and sources of gas imports to Finland and Estonia, in the case of an eventual interruption of Russian gas supply.
LNG terminal in Krk, Croatia: a new floating storage and regasification terminal to enhance the diversification of natural gas supplies for Central Eastern & South Eastern Europe, increasing security of gas supply and improving competitiveness in the region. The terminal started operations in January 2021.
Klaipeda-Kursenai pipeline in Lithuania: a pipeline enabling the transport of
In addition, a number of co-funded actions in South-Eastern Europe also contribute to create new supply routes and have access to new gas sources for the EU (such as the Trans-Anatolian Gas Pipeline, the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline, the EastMed Pipeline and a new LNG terminal in Cyprus).
Supporting underground gas storage to ensure security of supply
It is equally important to mention that CEF Energy is supporting projects in the field of underground gas storage (UGS) that will contribute to an enhanced security of supply and more flexibility to cope with demand/supply variations. For instance, the Chiren UGS Expansion in Bulgaria and the South Kavala UGS in Greece support this kind of infrastructures, aiming to reach a total underground storage capacity (working gas volume) of around 1360 mcm by the end of 2024.
Overall, CEF Energy has contributed during the past years with around EUR 1 billion to support the EU to become more independent from gas imports originating from one main supplier (Russia) allowing diversification of supply routes.
The implementation of these projects and underlying PCIs will result in more diversified energy supplies to Europe. The projects, some of which are already completed, while others will enter soon in operation, allow diversifying gas supplies, importing gas from new sources, increasing security of energy supply in the EU, in line with the objectives of the TEN-E policy. The focus of CEF during the period 2021-2027 remains to promote the development of decarbonised energy sources, in line with the REPowerEU roadmap, which aims to make a safe transition to more sustainable and decarbonised energy systems in Europe.
To know more about these projects and/or other Energy PCIs, please visit CINEA's Transparency Platform.
- Publication date
- 18 March 2022
- European Climate, Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency