G7 eyes RE for independence

Energy ministers from the Group of Seven nations have agreed to try to reduce Europe’s dependency on Russian gas by developing a broader mix of energy sources, including renewables and nuclear power.

Meeting in Rome, the G7 ministers underlined the importance of Europe diversifying its energy supplies so as to ensure a better mix between fossil fuels and renewable sources, such as wind and solar.

Ministers say they are “extremely concerned about the energy security implications of developments in Ukraine, as a consequence of Russia’s violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity”.

“Energy should not be used as a means of political coercion, nor as a threat to security,” said the G7 ministers, from the UK, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the US.

Ministers listed priorities, including improved energy efficiencies, the expanded use of renewables and nuclear energy, liquefied natural gas, and alternative gas pipelines via the Caspian Sea region.

France’s energy minister Segolene Royal said the G7 would use the crisis over Ukraine to “accelerate access to new technologies for countries that are excessively dependent on Russia”.

UK energy secretary Ed Davey said: “The principles that will guide our work over the months and years ahead are diversified energy supplies, more homegrown energy, better infrastructure to link our markets, reducing our energy needs through energy efficiency, and the powerful role clean energy technologies have to play.

“We recognise that our goals on energy and climate change security are strongly linked. Investing in homegrown clean energy and energy efficiency across our economies is fundamental to greater energy security, just as it is to fighting climate change.”

Russia currently supplies about a quarter of all EU gas imports, while pipelines through Ukraine carry about half of those deliveries each year.

With political action unlikely to produce any quick solution, countries like Italy, which relies almost completely on imported energy, are looking at widening their supply sources.

The energy ministers meeting was in preparation for a full G7 leaders’ summit in June, which had been scheduled to be held in Russia but was moved to Brussels as part of diplomatic and economic sanctions against Russia over its actions in Ukraine.