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According to the latest figures from the International Energy Agency, Russia supplies roughly 45% of the European Union’s gas imports for industry, homes and electricity generation. 16 percent of the EU’s total power demand is met via electricity generation with natural gas, a significant share of which is sourced from Russia. As reported by the IEA, “over the last decade, (EU) natural gas-fueled electricity generation annually ranged from 340 TWh to 600 TWh…Considering country-level supply dependencies, we estimate that between 100 TWh to 200 TWh of European Union natural gas-based electricity is provided by Russia.”
Despite this dependency, IEA forecasts point towards the potential for renewables to plug the gap created by the shift in the geopolitical landscape since Russia started the war with Ukraine. “Our forecasts indicate incremental growth of renewable electricity generation up to 180 TWh from 2021-2023, almost equal to the highest value of Russia dependent gas-fired generation.” An important factor to consider here however is the increased demand from alternative sources that will be created through the various phase-out or phase-down policies for coal and nuclear energy.
As this infographic illustrates, the dependency on Russian gas for electricity generation varies greatly between EU member states as does, crucially, the forecast levels of growth in renewable electricity generation. Germany and Italy rely the most heavily on Russia in this respect, but while Germany is expected to see sizable growth in its renewable sector – outstripping its current reliance on Russian natural gas – Italy does not currently have the policies or requisite implementation pace to counter the issue. When looking at other countries, the IEA summarizes: “France and the Netherlands’ dependency on Russia gas is relatively low, enabling a higher potential for renewables to displace natural gas. Conversely, in Austria, Hungary and Greece renewables expansion remains limited to reduce the countries’ dependency on Russia.”
This chart shows the average annual electricity generation using Russian natural gas and forecast renewable generation growth in European countries.
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