The European Community includes gas and nuclear energy in the EU’s green classification with some reservations

The decision to adopt an empowered law to formalize classification rules remains with the European Parliament and the European Council

MOSCOW, February 3 – IA Neftegaz.RU. The European Commission (EC) has decided to grant projects in the field of nuclear energy and natural gas a “green” status in the European Union’s sustainable financing classification.
This was announced on February 2, 2022 by European Commissioner for Finance M. McGuinness.

Theses from M. McGuinness:

  • Gas and nuclear power could contribute to the difficult transition to climate neutrality,
  • We have set strict conditions for inclusion in the rating,
  • For nuclear and gas projects, clear boundaries and deadlines for phased decommissioning will be established,
  • The EU needs to move away from highly damaging energy resources like coal, which still accounts for 15% of Europe’s electricity generation,
  • We have to change it.

The “EU Classification” published by the European Commission on February 2, 2022 sets out the main requirements for gas and nuclear power projects, the compliance of which will allow them to be classified as “green”.
In the nuclear industry, the following projects are included in the rating:

  • Closed fuel cycle technologies (4th generation) to stimulate research and innovation in future technologies in terms of safety standards and waste reduction,
  • New nuclear power plant projects that will use BAT (3+ generation) and whose building permit will be issued before 2045,
  • Modernization of existing power units in order to extend their service life, which will be recognized until 2040.

For gas projects, the EU Green Classification includes projects to produce electricity and heat from fossil gas if they meet one of the following emissions thresholds:

  • Life cycle emissions of less than 100g of CO2/ kWh * h,
  • Projects approved before 2030 in cases where renewable energy sources are not available on a sufficient scale:
    • Direct emissions should be less than 270g of CO2/ kWh or
    • For electricity generation activities, annual greenhouse gas emissions on average should not exceed 550 kg of carbon dioxide2/ kW of facility capacity for 20 years.

In this case, the project must comply with a set of cumulative conditions.
For example, it replaces a plant that uses solid or liquid fossil fuels, and its operations ensure a complete transition to renewable or low-carbon gases by 2035.

McGuinness stressed that the green rating is not a tool for EU energy policy and is binding on member states.
The classification does not allow investment in one sector or another and does not prohibit investment in other sectors, each country of the European Union independently determines the composition of its energy balance.
The document’s role is to increase transparency in the financial market for the private sector interested in sustainable investment.

The decision to adopt an empowered law to formalize the classification criteria remains with the European Parliament and the European Council, which must carefully study it within 4 months. The designation can be rejected by the European Council if at least 20 member states oppose its rules, or by the European Parliament with at least 353 votes against.
In the absence of comments, the Delegated Classification Acceptance Act will enter into force on January 1, 2023.

The issue of including nuclear energy and natural gas in the classification has sparked serious controversy in the European Union.
A particularly sharp confrontation erupted over the future of nuclear energy.
Germany, Austria, Spain and Luxembourg oppose nuclear energy, considering this technology to be dangerous and the radioactive waste problem unresolved.
France, Finland and most Central and Eastern European countries support the inclusion of nuclear energy in the EU’s green classification, believing that this will support the achievement of climate neutrality by 2050.
Opponents of gas projects are Austria, Denmark, the Netherlands, and Sweden, while coal-dependent countries such as Poland and the Czech Republic consider gas essential during their energy transition.

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