Energy crisis is a 'wake up call' for Europe to ditch fossil fuels
London (CNN Business) Soaring energy prices are a stark reminder of how dependent Europe is on fossil fuels and should serve to accelerate the shift towards renewable forms of energy.
"This experience today of the rising energy prices is a clear wake up call... that we should accelerate the transition to clean energy, wean ourselves off the fossil fuel dependency," a senior EU official told reporters as the European Commission unveiled a series of measures aimed at tackling the crisis.
The European Union is facing a sharp spike in energy prices , driven by increased global demand as the world recovers from the pandemic and lower-than-expected natural gas deliveries from Russia .
Wholesale electricity prices have increased by 200% compared to the 2019 average, according to the European Commission.
"Winter is coming and for many electricity costs are larger than they have been for a decade," Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson told reporters on Wednesday.
Wholesale gas prices — which have surged to record highs in France, Spain, Germany and Italy — are expected to remain high through the winter.
Prices are expected to fall in the spring, but remain higher than the average of past years, according to the Commission.
Most EU countries rely on gas-fired power stations to meet electricity demand, and about 40% of that gas comes from Russia, according to Eurostat.