EU and US pledge to reinforce energy cooperation ahead of next winter

Anthony Blinken and Josep Borrell met this Tuesday in Brussels.
Anthony Blinken and Josep Borrell met this Tuesday in Brussels. Copyright Olivier Matthys/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved
By Stefan Grobe
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While the EU went through these cold months without trouble, next winter might be more difficult.

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The European Union and the United States have renewed their commitment to ensure energy security while accelerating the green transition after a long and difficult year for Europe. 

The war in Ukraine and the rise on energy prices it triggered have deepened the EU's energy relationship with the US.

The EU-US Energy Council met in Brussels and discussed, in particular, the outlook for next winter, including the situation in Ukraine and Moldova.

Josep Borrell, the EU's High Representative, and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken reiterated their intentions as well as "recognised the unprecedented intensification of cooperation, coordination, and exchanges between the two sides in the context of Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine".

Participants discussed how to accelerate decarbonisation through clean-energy technologies and energy savings, while ensuring that the clean-energy transition is socially just.

The meeting came one year after the establishment of the Joint Task Force on Energy Security which aims at reducing the EU's reliance on Russian energy.

"Over the past year, the United States and Europe have thrown our energy security cooperation into even higher gear. In 2022, the United States exported 56 billion cubic meters of liquefied natural gas to Europe. That is 40% of Europe's total imports. It's 140% increase over our LNG exports to Europe the previous year", said Blinken.

Between August 2022 and January 2023, the EU reduced its overall demand for natural gas by 19 percent, including by lowering electricity use, improving energy efficiency in the residential sector, and identifying new digital solutions to help consumers save money.

"We have seen a significant increase in the deployment of solar panels, for example, across Europe. We have seen a sharp acceleration in the deployment of heat pumps that allow families to basically get rid of the gas boiler at home," a senior fellow at Bruegel, told Euronews.

"So, we are really seeing unprecedented steps to diminish the European reliance on gas" from both the industry and families, he added. 

The EU and US also came together to support Ukraine’s energy needs. Together with their G7 partners they delivered more than 4,000 power generators, 1,000 transformers, and more than 5 million pieces of equipment, like circuit breakers and cables, to help repair and replace the country’s battered energy grid.

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