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European Council Adopts New Rules to Decarbonise Gas

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The European Council has announced a new regulation establishing rules for renewable and natural gases, and reforming the existing EU gas legislation.

The new rules will help in making the shift to renewable and low-carbon gases, in particular hydrogen, with a view to achieving the EU’s decarbonisation targets.

The gas package outlines rules for the natural gas market and establishes a framework for the future hydrogen market, covering transport, supply, storage, and hydrogen infrastructure.

The new rules call for transparent network planning across the EU. Gas and hydrogen network operators will prepare a 10-year EU network development plan.

To phase out fossil fuels, long-term contracts will end in 2049. New rules encourage the use of renewable and low-carbon gases in coal and carbon-intensive regions. Member states will offer tariff discounts and incentives to support the integration of these gases into the market. A voluntary mechanism will also be set up to support the hydrogen market.

The new rules enhance protection for vulnerable customers and those facing energy poverty, especially in remote areas. Member states will prevent disconnections and appoint suppliers of last resort to ensure continuous energy supply.

The regulation will be signed and published in the Official Journal of the European Union, and will become directly applicable six months after its publication. Member states will have two years to adapt their national legislation.

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