Skip to content

The War in Ukraine Is Speeding Europe’s Pivot to Renewables

Video player cover image
Bloomberg Green: How the Ukraine War Is Impacting Climate Change

Europe aims to lead the global fight against climate change by rapidly shifting away from fossil fuels. Yet in the wake of the pandemic, the continent was rocked by disruptions in its energy supply that caused prices to surge -– even before the turmoil triggered by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Now the forces have combined to put Europe’s so-called energy transition onto something of a wartime footing, testing the limits of an accelerated timeline to adopt new technologies and leaving consumers footing higher bills. 

A decades-long push into wind and solar energy has transformed countries such as Denmark and Germany into leaders in the technologies. The 27 countries in the European Union got about a fifth of their total energy from renewables in 2020 and had planned to double that share to 40% by 2030. In the wake of the war in Ukraine, the target was raised to 45%. Germany, which relied on Russia for the bulk of its oil, natural gas and coal, brought forward its goal of 100% renewable power by more than a decade to 2035. That’s a very ambitious challenge since wind and solar farms take years to plan and build. If anything, the crisis has made EU policymakers more committed to the bloc’s so-called Green Deal, the flagship climate policy that includes a massive package of laws to meet a target of zeroing-out greenhouse gas emissions by mid-century.