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European Commission aims to make renewable energy easier to adopt

The European Commission proposed changes to rules governing the bloc's grid to make it easier to secure long-term agreements related to renewable energy. File photo by Patrick Seeger/EPA-EFE
1 of 2 | The European Commission proposed changes to rules governing the bloc's grid to make it easier to secure long-term agreements related to renewable energy. File photo by Patrick Seeger/EPA-EFE

March 14 (UPI) -- Reforms in the European electricity market could open the door to more renewables, leaving consumers less exposed to global market and geopolitical developments, the European Commission proposed Tuesday.

The commission proposed reforms on Tuesday designed to accelerate the adoption of renewable energy, phase out natural gas and protect consumers from external events.

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"The energy crisis spurred by Russia's invasion of Ukraine has underlined the need to quickly adapt the electricity market to better support the green transition and offer energy consumers, both households and businesses, widespread access to affordable renewable and non-fossil electricity," the Commission stated.

Members of the European Union before the outbreak of war in Ukraine last year were heavily reliant on Russia for supplies of crude oil and natural gas. Former Soviet republics such as Poland were almost entirely dependent on Russia. Improvements are already apparent.

Liquefied natural gas from the United States is filling some of the Russian void in Europe and most major economies are reconsidering their positions on nuclear power.

Last month, meanwhile, British energy company BP said it would invest nearly $2 billion to develop a hydrogen hub in the Valencia region of Spain using its Castellon refinery as a foundation.

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Hydrogen is a potent energy carrier and some evolving production processes have no carbon emissions.

The European Commission's proposal calls for longer term contracts with non-fossil fuel providers to incentivize further development.

"This will decrease the impact of fossil fuels on the consumer electricity bills, as well as ensure that the lower cost of renewables gets reflected in there," the Commission stated.

Elsewhere, the proposal would make it easier for consumers to share renewable energy. Rather than sending it back to the grid, for example, tenants could share excess renewable energy with a neighbor.

"The current electricity market design has delivered an efficient, well integrated market over many decades, but tight global supply and Russia's manipulation of our energy markets has left many consumers facing massive increases in their energy bills," European Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson said.

The proposal follows similar efforts tabled last week by the European Commission on energy efficiency. Like that measure, the proposal on renewables needs to be sanctioned by the executive arm of the European Union and its Parliament before it takes effect.

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