European taxonomy: Kyiv calls on Parliament to support “green” label for gas and nuclear

European taxonomy: Kyiv calls on Parliament to support “green” label for gas and nuclear

The Ministry of Energy of Ukraine has entered the debate on the taxonomy of sustainable finance in the European Union (EU) by calling on the European Parliament to support plans to qualify nuclear and gas as energy sources. green energy.

In a letter to key MEPs, Ukraine’s Energy Ministry called on lawmakers to “consider positively” proposals to qualify gas and nuclear as green transition technologies under the EU’s sustainable finance taxonomy. The European Parliament will vote on the issue on Wednesday (July 6).

The vote will be watched closely by the nuclear and gas industries, which hope to receive a boost in their inclusion in the EU’s sustainable finance taxonomy.

According to the letter signed by Ukrainian Energy Minister German Galushchenko, Ukraine “followed closely” the discussions in Europe on the awarding of a green label for gas and nuclear.

Ukraine’s post-war reconstruction “will require a predictable and conducive investment climate for all technologies”including nuclear and gas, says the minister.

He adds that nuclear and “indigenous gas production” will stay “a strong pillar to guarantee security of energy supply and sovereignty of Ukraine over the next decade (until 2030)”.

Ukrainian Ambassador to Germany Calls for Rejection of Nuclear and Gas

In a separate three-page document, Kyiv also outlines its ” vision “ how it could enhance Europe’s energy security. The document was circulated to Ukrainian embassies around the world after the ambassador to Germany wrote an open letter calling on MEPs to reject the proposal.

“Ukraine shares the objectives of the European Green Deal, but must recognize that gas may still be needed as a transitional fuel”says the document, which continues: “In this respect, the inclusion of gas in the taxonomy is an important element of energy security in Europe. »

Likewise, the document indicates that Ukraine’s nuclear capability can contribute to Europe’s energy independence and efforts to decarbonise its energy mix.

“Ukraine believes that safe, carbon-free and reliable nuclear energy could be one of the most effective options for EU member states to choose to end their reliance on Russian gas and curb high prices electricity in Europe »indicates the document.

Prior to the Russian invasion, Ukraine had already deployed 8.6 gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy capacity, mostly through large-scale solar panels, but also wind turbines and biogas.

However, even in a scenario where half of the country’s electricity comes from renewables by 2030, “Nuclear energy will continue to make a significant contribution to energy security and the transition to carbon neutrality”says the letter, pointing out that Ukraine already has an operational nuclear capacity of 14 GW.

The letter then highlights the potential for “indigenous gas production” in Ukraine, which holds about 1.1 trillion cubic meters of gas reserves, “the second largest” of Europe, according to Mr. Galushchenko. The country also has vast underground gas storage capacity, which could contribute up to 10 billion cubic meters to the EU filling targets.

Ukrainian activists campaign against gas and nuclear

Last week Ukrainian activists and politicians urged the European Parliament to reject plans to label nuclear and gas as “green” investments, saying it would help fund the Kremlin’s war effort.

The inclusion of “gas and nuclear in the EU taxonomy is a very clear gift to Mr. Putin to fuel his war machine against the Ukrainians”said Svitlana Romanko, an environmental lawyer and campaign manager at Stand With Ukraine, an activist group.

Ukrainian Ambassador to Germany Andrij Melnyk also wrote an open letter to German lawmakers, calling on them to reject the taxonomy proposal. “Taxonomy terms clearly favor Russian gas” compared to LNG [importations de gaz naturel liquéfié]he argued, calling on MEPs to oppose it.

In a letter sent on Tuesday (5 July), leaders of Ukraine’s renewable energy associations called on MEPs to reject the taxonomy proposal, saying it will increase Europe’s dependence on gas imports Russian.

Parliament divided on the proposal

In presenting its controversial taxonomy proposal on February 2, the European Commission said it aimed to accelerate the transition to a low-carbon economy and the phasing out of coal, which is the dirtiest fossil fuel.

The Commission indicates that gas-fired power stations and nuclear power stations must fulfill “strict conditions” to obtain the “green” label, in particular emission limit thresholds which could encompass gas-fired power stations in the event that they plan to switch to low-carbon gas or reduce their operating hours.

However, these provisions date from before the Russian invasion. Since then, the Commission has presented proposals aimed at diversifying gas supplies and accelerating the development of renewable energies in order to end Europe’s dependence on Russian gas.

Meanwhile, a group of MEPs from all political stripes have rallied against the proposal, saying it undermines the EU’s green goals and would prolong Europe’s dependence on Russian gas.

“We believe that the proposed classifications of gas and nuclear in the green taxonomy is a strategic error and an affront to inclusive and democratic law-making”they wrote in an opinion piece published on EURACTIV.

Instead of consulting Parliament, the Commission has “blindly followed a purely political agreement between France, favorable to nuclear power, and Germany, a major gas consumer”they wrote, warning that the decision “Risk of turning the EU from a climate leader to a climate laggard”.

In addition, two parliamentary committees voted in June on a motion of opposition to the Commission’s taxonomy proposal, suggesting that the assembly leans towards the rejection of the proposal.

Many French MEPs are also expected to support the Commission’s proposal. It is indeed seen as an opportunity for the struggling nuclear industry.

The proposal is politically sensitive, with France lobbying the Commission to include nuclear in EU sustainable funding rules, and Germany making detailed demands on gas to reflect the demands of its industry energy hungry.

Austria and Luxembourg, on the other hand, have threatened to sue the Commission for adding nuclear and gas to the list of EU green investments.

> The full letter from the Ukrainian Ministry of Energy can be accessed here.

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