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How Europe Can Break Its Dependence on Russian Energy

Faster adoption of renewables and expanded use of nuclear power would bolster the continent’s security and help the climate, too. 

From Russia, with problems.

From Russia, with problems.

Photographer: Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg

As if the pandemic and rising inflation weren’t enough, Europeans face another source of wintry discontent: an energy crisis. A supply crunch has caused the price of power to hit record highs, just in time for the coldest season. It also risks exacerbating a worrying situation in Ukraine. With Russia massing forces on the border, Europe’s dependence on Russian gas limits the West’s options for stopping an invasion. 

Europe’s leaders need to respond. Reducing imports of Russian gas and improving access to alternative sources will benefit the region as a whole and help the climate, too. That means investing further in gas storage and other infrastructure, accelerating the adoption of renewable energy, and expanding the use of nuclear power. By coordinating policy more closely, European nations can build a more sustainable energy sector and prevent Russian President Vladimir Putin from using energy as a weapon to divide the West.