The EU should fast-track significant wind and solar capacity over the next year as one of ten key measures to slash by one third the bloc’s reliance on Russian gas, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said on Thursday.

The Paris-based agency called for “a concerted policy effort” by the bloc to rapidly deliver more renewables as part of a list of recommendations that also includes a halt to new gas contracts with Russia and a wider, faster push to decarbonisation (see panel).

“Nobody is under any illusions anymore. Russia’s use of its natural gas resources as an economic and political weapon show Europe needs to act quickly to be ready to face considerable uncertainty over Russian gas supplies next winter,” said IEA executive director Fatih Birol.

The European Commission will next week “propose a pathway for Europe to become independent from Russian gas as soon as possible” energy commissioner Kadri Simson said at the launch of the IEA plan.

The IEA claimed “a concerted policy effort” could deliver an extra 20TWh of utility-scale wind and solar power over the next 12 months, not least by addressing delays with permitting of new projects by “clarifying and simplifying responsibilities among various permitting bodies, building up administrative capacity, setting clear deadlines for the permitting process, and digitalising applications”.

All the above are in line with long-standing calls by renewables sector bodies such as WindEurope, which has for years warned that permitting is among the biggest barriers to green power expansion.

Giles Dickson, WindEurope’s CEO, told Recharge in an interview last week that the issue threatened to derail the bloc’s entire Green Deal plans and had been given extra urgency by the situation in Ukraine.

The IEA’s timeframe would require regulatory knots to be unpicked and projects accelerated within 12 months, requiring a turbocharging of the EU’s energy transition policy agenda.

WindEurope said in a statement on the energy security implications of the Ukraine war: “Accelerating the transition to renewables is now more essential than ever – to boost Europe’s energy security and to help mitigate long-term electricity price risks for European companies and households.

“And wind and solar can and will accelerate their rate of deployment. By the end of this year, they can jointly deploy up to 54 GW of new capacity in Europe.”

French energy minister Barbara Pompili said at the launch of the IEA plan: “The first thing we have to be is independent, more and more resilient” as she called for “an accelerated deployment of renewables”.

The minister added: “Each additional wind turbine or solar panel in Europe is a step forward for the fight for the climate and our energy independence.”

The IEA’s 10-point plan to slash Russian gas imports by one third in a year

No new gas supply contracts with Russia.

Replace Russian supplies with gas from alternative sources.

Introduce minimum gas storage obligations.

Accelerate the deployment of new wind and solar projects.

Maximise power generation from bioenergy and nuclear.

Short-term tax measures on windfall profits to shelter electricity consumers from high prices.

Speed up the replacement of gas boilers with heat pumps.

Accelerate energy efficiency improvements in buildings and industry.

Encourage a temporary thermostat reduction of 1 °C by consumers.

Step up efforts to diversify and decarbonise sources of power system flexibility.