With oil prices reaching high-levels and driving price commodities over the roof, the industry is suggesting that renewable fuels may be able to replace up to 70% Russian crude oil imports by 2030.
1. Energy dependence
In 2021, over a quarter of the EU’s imported crude oil came from Russia. Moscow is the world’s largest oil exporter at about 8% of the world’s supply, and the EU is the world’s second largest importer and largest buyer of Russian oil. With the military escalation in the East, the EU is being pressured to look for alternative solutions.
The question of energy dependence on Russia has long been a debate among European policy-makers, who have been trying to find solutions to attain energy independence and security for a long time. Some analysts believe the energy crisis we are living now will be a pathway for a greater use and uptake of renewable energy.
“A stop to Russian oil and coal supplies would push Europe into a short and painful adjustment period. But if managed well, disruptions would remain temporary,“ predicts an analysis from Bruegel. The report urges governments to encourage demand reduction of Russian crude oil and oil products.
2. Renewable fuels
Trying to deliver solutions to the European energy dilemma, eFuel Alliance, a stakeholder dedicated to the industrial production of synthetic liquid and gaseous fuels from renewable energies and sustainable biomass, believes that it’s possible to guarantee energy security using renewable fuels.
We are convinced renewable fuels can replace up to 70% of Russia’s crude oil imports by 2030 if the greenhouse gas reduction quota is set at 20% in the revision of the Renewable Energy Directive (RED II).Monika Griefahn, spokesperson for the eFuel Alliance, co-founder of Greenpeace and former Environment Minister of Lower Saxony
3. Expanding renewable energies
In a detailed paper, the Alliance outlined possible solutions to respond to this dilemma, being the expansion of renewable energies at the top of the list. They believe that global potentials for hydrogen and eFuel production through international energy partnerships has the potential to deliver promising results in the coming future.
A recent deal between the Finnish refiner Neste recently and the US-based oil company Marathon Petroleum Corp is set to be the world’s first renewable fuels maker with global capacity.
“For this purpose, a plannable, long-term demand must be stimulated as quickly as possible by European regulations, which are currently being discussed and decided in Brussels within the framework of the Green Deal,“ reads the paper.
Griefahn went on saying that 60 million tons of CO2 can be reduced and the climate targets set can be achieved if the discussion is open to all technologies and renewable fuels are included.
4. EU targets
As part of the Fit-for-55 package, the European Commission adopted a proposal to revise the Renewable Energy Directive, which proposes a greenhouse gas intensity reduction target for 2030, instead of a target to reach a certain share of renewables. Still, a recent report from the European Environment Agency revealed that the share of energy from renewable sources used for transport in the EU increased from under 2% in 2005 to 10.2% in 2020.
If the build-up of eFuels production starts now, the first quantities of climate-neutral fuels will be available as early as 2025 and at affordable prices.Ralf Diemer, eFuel Alliance’s managing director
However, Diemer called on policymakers to enable the necessary policy framework for eFuel production on an industrial scale. The Alliance said it has already made policy proposals that meet the sustainability criteria of the Renewable Energy Directive.
5. Russian oil tankers head to the EU
Despite the ban declared by some countries on the arrival of Russian vessels, cargo from Moscow is still arriving via ships registered to other countries, Greenpeace UK revealed, based on its tracking service.
At least 148 supertankers carrying oil and gas from Russia have been identified by the NGO, 69 of them were headed to Europe. Greenpeace has called on Europe to reject and ban any import of fossil fuels from Russia as an immediate step to weaken the war.