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The European Commission has unveiled a plan to reduce Europe’s dependence on Russian energy sources, in response to the launch of military action against Ukraine.

The new plan requires EU member countries to cut gas imports from Russia by two-thirds before the end of 2022, and completely end reliance for fuel supplies before the end of this decade.

The proposed plan outlines measures to diversify gas supplies, replace gas in heating and power generation, and accelerate the launch of renewable gases.

In an effort to diversify gas supplies, the commission plans for higher liquefied natural gas (LNG) and pipeline imports from non-Russian suppliers, as well as produce and import larger volumes of biomethane and renewable hydrogen.

European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said: “We need to act now to mitigate the impact of rising energy prices, diversify our gas supply for next winter, and accelerate the clean energy transition.”

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By GlobalData

The commission expects gas and liquefied natural gas from countries like Qatar and the US to replace more than a third of the 155 billion cubic metres (bcm) currently imported by Europe from Russia annually, reported Reuters.

New renewable projects, including wind and solar, are expected to replace 20bcm of gas demand in Europe in 2022.

Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson said: “For the remaining weeks of this winter, Europe has sufficient amounts of gas, but we need to replenish our reserves urgently for next year.

“The Commission will therefore propose that, by 1 October, gas storage in the EU has to be filled up to at least 90%. We have also outlined price regulation, state aid, and tax measures to protect European households and businesses against the impact of the exceptionally high prices.”

Italian energy firms Sorgenia and Iren are also planning to build an LNG terminal in the southern Italian port of Gioia Tauro, to enable Italy to minimise its dependence on Russia for fuel supplies, according to Reuters.

With the capacity to process 12bcm of LNG per year, the new terminal is expected to help the country in covering almost half of gas imports from Russia.

Enel is also set to resume plans to build an LNG terminal in southern Italy to reduce the country’s reliance on Russian gas, according to Reuters.