United States President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Friday announced a joint Task Force to reduce Europe’s dependence on Russian fossil fuels and strengthen European energy security.
The new Task Force for Energy Security will be chaired by a representative from the White House and a representative of the President of the European Commission.
“It will work to ensure energy security for Ukraine and the EU in preparation for next winter and the following one while supporting the EU’s goal to end its dependence on Russian fossil fuels,” the White House said in a fact sheet.
FACT SHEET: United States and European Commission Announce Task Force to Reduce Europe’s Dependence on Russian Fossil Fuels
Today, President Joe Biden and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced a joint Task Force to reduce Europe’s dependence on Russian fossil fuels and strengthen European energy security as President Putin wages his war of choice against Ukraine.
This Task Force for Energy Security will be chaired by a representative from the White House and a representative of the President of the European Commission. It will work to ensure energy security for Ukraine and the EU in preparation for next winter and the following one while supporting the EU’s goal to end its dependence on Russian fossil fuels.
The Task Force will organize its efforts around two primary goals: (1) Diversifying liquefied natural gas (LNG) supplies in alignment with climate objectives; (2) Reducing demand for natural gas.
Diversifying LNG Supplies in Alignment with Climate ObjectivesThe United States will work with international partners and strive to ensure additional LNG volumes for the EU market of at least 15 bcm in 2022, with expected increases going forward.
The United States and the European Commission will undertake efforts to reduce the greenhouse gas intensity of all new LNG infrastructure and associated pipelines, including through using clean energy to power onsite operations, reducing methane leakage, and building clean and renewable hydrogen-ready infrastructure.
The European Commission will prepare an upgraded regulatory framework for energy security of supply and storage, as well as working with EU Member States to accelerate regulatory procedures to review and determine approvals for LNG import infrastructure. The United States will maintain its regulatory environment with an emphasis on supporting this emergency energy security objective and the REPowerEU goals. The European Commission will work with EU Member States toward the goal of ensuring, until at least 2030, demand for approximately 50 bcm/year of additional U.S. LNG that is consistent with our shared net-zero goals. This also will be done on the understanding that prices should reflect long-term market fundamentals and stability of supply and demand.Reducing Demand for Natural GasThe United States and the European Commission will engage key stakeholders, including the private sector, and deploy immediate recommendations to reduce overall gas demand by accelerating market deployment of clean energy measures.
Immediate reductions in gas demand can be achieved through energy efficiency solutions such as ramping up demand response devices, including smart thermostats, and deployment of heat pumps. The REPowerEU plan estimates that reductions through energy savings in homes can replace 15.5 bcm this year and that accelerating wind and solar deployment can replace 20 bcm this year, and through EU’s existing plans such as “Fit for 55” contribute to the EU goal of saving 170 bcm/year by 2030. As global leaders in renewable energy, the United States and the European Commission will work to expedite planning and approval for renewable energy projects and strategic energy cooperation, including on technologies where we both excel such as offshore wind.
We will continue to collaborate to advance the production and use of clean and renewable hydrogen to displace unabated fossil fuels and cut greenhouse gas emissions, which will include both technology and supporting infrastructure.
READ ALSO – Joint Statement between the United States and the European Commission on European Energy Security
The United States and the European Commission are committed to reducing Europe’s dependency on Russian energy. We reaffirm our joint commitment to Europe’s energy security and sustainability and to accelerating the global transition to clean energy. In condemning in the strongest terms Russia’s further invasion of Ukraine, we express our solidarity and support for Ukraine. We share the objective of addressing the energy security emergency – to ensure energy supply for the EU and Ukraine. We welcome the continued progress toward the physical integration of Ukraine with the EU energy markets. The energy security and sustainability of the EU and Ukraine are essential for peace, freedom and democracy in Europe.
Through the Joint European action for more affordable, secure and sustainable energy (REPowerEU), the EU confirmed its objective to reach independence from Russian fossil fuels well before the end of the decade, replacing them with stable, affordable, reliable, and clean energy supplies for EU citizens and businesses.
The United States and the EU are committed to meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement, achieving the objective of net zero emissions by 2050, and keeping a 1.5 degrees Celsius limit on temperature rise within reach, including through a rapid clean energy transition, renewable energy, and energy efficiency. These policies and technologies will also contribute to making the EU independent from Russian fossil fuels. Natural gas remains an important part of the EU energy system in the green transition, including by ensuring its carbon intensity decreases over time.
The United States and European Commission confirm our strategic energy cooperation for security of energy supply and reducing dependence on fossil fuels. We share efforts to make available stable, affordable, reliable and clean energy supplies to citizens and businesses in the EU and its neighbouring partner nations. In this framework, we establish an immediate cooperation to address the emergency energy security objective of ensuring appropriate levels of gas storage ahead of next winter and the following one. We will continue our close cooperation on other measures to accelerate the green energy transition, lower energy consumption and reduce dependence on fossil fuels.
Task Force on Energy Security
The United States and the European Commission will immediately establish a joint Task Force on Energy Security to set out the parameters of this cooperation and execute its implementation. The Task Force will be chaired by a representative from the White House and a representative of the President of the European Commission.
This Task Force will focus on the following urgent issues:
- The United States will strive to ensure, including working with international partners, additional liquified natural gas (LNG) volumes for the EU market of at least 15 bcm in 2022 with expected increases going forward.
- The United States and European Commission will undertake efforts to reduce the greenhouse gas intensity of all new LNG infrastructure and associated pipelines, including through the use of clean energy to power onsite operations, the reduction of methane leakage, and the construction of clean and renewable hydrogen ready infrastructure.
- The United States commits to maintaining an enabling regulatory environment with procedures to review and expeditiously act upon applications to permit any additional export LNG capacities that would be needed to meet this emergency energy security objective and support the RePowerEU goals, affirming the joint resolve to terminate EU dependence on Russian fossil fuels by 2027.
- The European Commission will work with the governments of EU Member States to accelerate their regulatory procedures to review and determine approvals for LNG import infrastructure, to include onshore facilities and related pipelines to support imports using floating storage regasification unit vessels, and fixed LNG import terminals.
- The European Commission will work with EU Member States and market operators to pool demand through a newly established EU Energy platform for additional volumes between April and October 2022. The European Commission will also support long-term contracting mechanisms and partner with the U.S. to encourage relevant contracting to support final investment decisions on both LNG export and import infrastructure.
- The European Commission will work with EU Member States toward ensuring stable demand for additional U.S. LNG until at least 2030 of approximately 50 bcm/annum, on the understanding that the price formula of LNG supplies to the EU should reflect long-term market fundamentals, and stability of the cooperation of the demand and supply side, and that this growth be consistent with our shared net zero goals. In particular, price formula should include consideration of Henry Hub Natural Gas Spot Price and other stabilising factors.
- The EU is preparing an upgraded regulatory framework for energy security of supply and storage. This will enhance certainty and predictability regarding security of supply and storage needs and ensure closer cooperation within the EU and its neighbouring partner nations. The European Commission has proposed regulation on energy storage to ensure that the existing storage infrastructure is filled up to 90% of its capacity by 1 November each year, with specific phase-in provisions for 2022. The European Commission will coordinate with the Member States and provide transparency with respect to available LNG capacity in EU terminals.
- The United States and the European Commission will engage key stakeholders, including the private sector, to formulate immediate recommendations that will reduce overall gas demand through accelerating market deployment and utilization of clean energy technologies and measures in Europe and the United States such as:
- Partnering on technologies and energy efficiency solutions such as ramping up demand response devices (such as smart thermostats) and heat pump deployment and installations, scaling procurement for clean energy equipment, investing in innovative technologies and fuel-switching away from fossil fuels.
- Expediting planning and approval for renewable energy projects and strategic energy cooperation including in offshore wind technologies.
- Developing a strategy to accelerate workforce development to support the rapidly deployment of clean energy technologies, including an expansion of solar and wind.
- Collaborating to advance the production and use of clean and renewable hydrogen to displace unabated fossil fuels and cut greenhouse gas emissions, including by investing in technology development and supporting infrastructure.
- The European Commission is working to advance measures that reduce gas consumption by maximizing renewable energy generation and utilization, including by reducing curtailment rates.
- The United States and the European Commission are resolved to negotiate and then implement an ambitious emissions-based Global Arrangement on Steel and Aluminum Trade that incentives industrial decarbonization and lowers energy demand.
READ ALSO: Remarks by President Biden and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in Joint Press Statement
U.S. Chief of Mission Residence, Brussels, Belgium10:05 A.M. CET
PRESIDENT BIDEN: Good morning. Today I’m proud to once again be standing together with President von der Leyen as we announce a new groundbreaking initiative between the European Union and the United States.
First, we’re coming together to reduce Europe’s dependence on Russian energy. Putin has issued Russia’s energy resources to coerce and manipulate its neighbors. That’s how he’s used it. He’s used the profits to drive his war machine.
And that’s why, earlier this month, I announced the United States would ban all imports of Russian energy to make it clear that the American people would not be part of subsidizing Putin’s brutal, unjustified war against the people of Ukraine.
At the time, I noted that we were able to take those steps when others could not because the United States is a net energy exporter of energy, with a strong domestic industry.
And the United States welcomed the European Union’s powerful statement earlier this month committing to rapidly reduce its dependence on Russian gas.
Today we’ve agreed on a joint game plan toward that goal while accelerating our progress toward a secure clean energy future.
This initiative focuses on two core issues: One, helping Europe reduce its dependency on Russian gas as quickly as possible. And, secondly, reducing Europe’s demand for gas overall.
To address the first point, the United States, together with our international partners, they’re going to — we’re going to work to ensure an additional 15 — one-five — 15 billion cubic meters of liquified natural gas — LNG — for Europe this year.
And as the EU works to discontinue buying Russian gas well before 2030, it will also work to ensure additional EU market demand for 50 billion cubic meters of LNG from the United States annually by 2030.
To accomplish this, the European Commission is going to work with the member states to store gas across the continent, to build more infrastructure to receive LNG, and to take steps to increase the efficiency of gas.
This build-out — this build-out will occur in a way that consists — is consistent with, not in conflict with, the zero — net-zero climate goal we — that we’re shooting for. It’s going to take some time to adjust gas supply chains and infrastructure as is built the last decade — for the last decade.
So we’re going to have to make sure the families in Europe can get through this winter and the next while we’re building an infrastructure for a diversified, resilient, and clean energy future.
At the same time, this crisis also presents an opportunity. It’s a catalyst — a catalyst that will drive the investments we need to double-down on our clean energy goals and accelerate progress toward our net-zero emissions future.
That’s what the second part of this initiative is all about.
The United States and the European Union are going to work together to take concrete measures to reduce dependence on natural gas — period — and to maximize the available — the avail- — the availability and use of renewable energy.
We’re going to accelerate widespread adoption of energy-efficient technologies and equipment, like smart thermostats, the work — that work to — and work to electrify heating systems all across Europe.
We’re going to invest in innovative solutions and technologies to make the switch from fossil fuels.
And together, we’ll advance the use of clean and renewable hydrogen to reduce our carbon emissions.
This — these steps will increase energy security, economic security, and national security.
And we’re going to stand up a joint task force to implement these changes and drive progress that will be co-chaired by representatives from the White House and the President of the European Union’s team — Commission’s team.
Madam President, I know — I know that eliminating Russian gas will have costs for Europe. But it’s not only the right thing to do from a moral standpoint, it’s going to put us on a much stronger strategic footing.
And I’m proud to announce that we’ve also reached another major breakthrough in transatlantic data flows. Privacy and security are key elements of my digital agenda.
And today, we’ve agreed to unprecedented protections for data privacy and security for our citizens.
This new agreement will enhance the Privacy Shield Framework; promote growth and innovation in Europe and the United States; and help companies, both small and large, compete in the digital economy.
Just as we did when we resolved the Boeing-Airbus dispute and lifted the steel and aluminum tariffs, the United States and the EU are finding creative, new approaches to knit our economies and our people closer together, grounded on shared values.
This framework underscores our shared commitment to privacy, to data protection, and to the rule of law. And it’s going to allow the European Commission to once again authorize
transatlantic data flows that help facilitate $7.1 trillion in economic relationships with the EU.
So thank you again, Madam President, for your personal friendship, for your partnership, and above all, your leadership.
All of this is bringing the European Union and the United States even closer together, and that’s a win for all of us.
So I thank you all, and I’m now going to yield the podium to the President.
Let me pull this out. (Pulls out the step stool.) Got to earn my salary here. (Laughter.) Is it out enough? There you go. Thank you. (Laughs.)
PRESIDENT VON DER LEYEN: Thank you. Mr. President, Dear Joe, your presence here in Brussels this week — at the NATO summit, at the G7, and at our European Council — sends a very powerful message to the world.
The transatlantic partnership stands stronger and more united than ever. And we are determined to stand up against Russia’s brutal war. This war will be a strategic failure for Putin.
Our cooperation on the four successive waves of sanctions against Russia has been extraordinary and exceptional. The sanctions are now working their way deep into the Russian system, draining Putin’s resources to finance this atrocious war.
Our work on sanctions also shows that when we act together, we’re stronger and we really can make a difference.
And we are continuing to reinforce our cooperation in many strategic ways: on humanitarian and security assistance to Ukraine; on energy; on fighting the threats against our democracies; on solving outstanding issues in the EU-U.S. cooperation, including in data protec- — protection and privacy.
In a world faced with disorder, our transatlantic unity upholds fundamental values and rules that our citizens believe in. Let me focus first on refugees.
Until now, around three and a half million people have left Ukraine, half of them children. Every second refugee is a child. And the numbers will keep rising. So, together, we are mobilizing massive resources to support those displaced by the conflict, be it in Ukraine or in the neighboring countries.
Just this week, for example, I announced that the European Union will allocate an extra 3.4 billion euros for this purpose, and more will come. This demonstrates our deep support for Ukraine and its citizens.
And I want to tell the American people how grateful Europe is for their unwavering support. This support also extends to strengthening Europe’s energy security and independence from Russian fossil fuels. As you know, we aim to reduce this dependency on Russian fossil fuels and to get rid of it. And this can only be achieved through, of course, first of all, investment in renewables, but also through additional gas supplies, including LNG deliveries.
So we want, as Europeans, to diversify away from Russia, towards suppliers that we trust, that are friends, and that are reliable.
And therefore, the U.S. commitment to provide the European Union with additional at least 15 billion cubic meters of LNG this year is a big step in this direction because this will replace the LNG supply we currently receive from Russia.
And looking ahead, the United States and Europe will ensure stable demand and supply for additional at least 50 billion cubic meter of U.S. LNG until 2030. And if we look at that, this amount, 50 bcm per year, is replacing one third already of the Russian gas going to Europe today. So, we are right in — on track now to diversify away from Russian gas and towards our friends’ and partners’ reliable and trustworthy suppliers.
We need to secure our supplies not just for next winter but also for the years ahead. And this is a — an important, a big starting point to do that.
Our partnership aims to sustain us through this war, to work on our independence from Russian fossil fuels, but it also focuses on building a greener future with climate neutrality. We will work together also with our energy-intensive industry. And the good news is that the infrastructure that we use for gas today can be used for clean hydrogen in the future. So, this investment we are doing right now is also an investment in the decarbonizing of our economy.
The cooperation shows the power of our democracies. I particularly welcome that we will step up our respective action on strengthening democracies, the rule of law, the freedom of media in the world.
And we also need to continue adapting our own democracies to a changing world. This is particularly true when it comes to digitalization, in which the protection of personal data and privacy has become so crucial.
And therefore, I’m very pleased that we have found an agreement in principle on a new framework for transatlantic data flows. This will enable predictable and trustworthy data flows between the EU and U.S., safeguarding privacy and civil liberties.
And I really want to thank Commissioner Reynders and Secretary Raimondo for their tireless efforts over the past month to finish a balanced and effective solution. This is another step in our — strengthening our partnership. We managed to balance security and the right to privacy and data protection.
Mr. President, Dear Joe: Putin is trying to turn back the clock to another era — an era of brutal use of force, of power politics, of spheres of influence, and internal repression. I am confident he will fail.
We are working together to forge a peaceful, prosperous, and sustainable future. And I know we will succeed.
Thank you very much.
PRESIDENT BIDEN: Thank you.
PRESIDENT VON DER LEYEN: Thank you very much.
PRESIDENT BIDEN: Thank you, everyone.
10:18 A.M. CET