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European Energy Dependence, Vulnerability and Risks- opener

image credit: Chasing Energy Supplies
Paul Hobcraft's picture
Innovation & Energy Knowledge Provider Agility Innovation

I work as a transition advocate for innovation, ecosystems, within IIoT, and the energy system as my points of focus. I relate content to context to give greater knowledge and build the...

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  • Mar 18, 2022
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We are presently seeing the vulnerability of the European markets to supply dependence and especially risks of reliance upon Gas from Russia. So how much is Europe dependent on Russian gas?


The EU is SO dependent on it, and because it has committed to limiting its greenhouse gas emissions. The EU imported 155 billion cubic meters of natural gas from Russia in 2021, almost half (45%) of its gas imports and nearly 40% of the total amount used, according to the IEA.

There is currently a real scramble to change the dependencies due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the implications to Europe, and this growing recognition that Europe is faced with a real energy crisis for the next decade.

The current “talking up” of replacing oil, coal and gas with renewables of wind, solar, green hydrogen solutions (PEM Electrolyzers), new grid infrastructure and battery storage means potentially some very volatile and disruptive energy management problems in the short to medium term.

Over now for the next 10 years replacing existing energy generating solutions, dependent on oil, coal and gas with ones based on renewable solutions needs to be even more central to energy management.

The ability to shift from Gas from Russia into Oil from the Middle East (good or bad?) and LNG from the USA are being suggested can make a rapid turnaround in Energy sourcing supplies in Europe. Two to three years is being talked about and in this period a rapid ramping up of renewables. Presently in Germany, they are re-opening coal mines or extending their life but that is not the case for Nuclear. Pollution will take a turn for the worse in these next few years it seems

 

Today’s crisis in Europe: dependence on Russia for Gas

 

A short summary, specifically on Germany’s energy shocking dilemma and its dependence on Russsian Gas- that should have NEVER HAPPENED.

Just read this 2014 article “Energy Dependence Dooms EU to Instability“to not understand what was coming towards us, we kicked the energy dependence can (barrel) down the road. Well, it’s well and truly back!

Europe can’t manage the energy transition in progressive ways, it needs to be aggressively managed

In a recent Q&A: How could Germany and the EU weather a fossil fuel embargo on Russia? by Clean Energy Wire (CLEW) the following fallout issues have been highlighted that the German government fears from cutting Russian energy ties?

  • “Europe’s supply of energy for heating, mobility, electricity and industry currently cannot be secured in any other way” (Scholz)
  • Halting energy trade with Russia would not just cause inconveniences to individuals but would inflict “damage on the entire society that would ultimately undermine other sanctions” (Habeck)
  • Stopping oil and gas deliveries from Russia would lead to “severe damages to the economy, unemployment, to large societal damages — and then there is the question, will we be able to keep this up?” (Habeck)
  • “If we announce an import embargo now, we have to be able to sustain it for three years, not just three days. I don’t have data that says that this is possible, but instead, I have information that suggests that we then get severe economic distortions.” (Habeck)
  • Cutting gas imports now without knowing if this can be sustained next winter would mean that deliveries from Russia may have to resume at the end of the year. In the meantime, prices for gas would skyrocket (Habeck)
  • Although the economy and climate ministry (BMWK) has repeatedly said that gas storage levels are sufficient to get Germany through the rest of the winter, spring and summer, it has also warned that if Russian deliveries should cease entirely, securing supply for next winter would be difficult

Without doubt the EU is in a real energy dependence crisis that constricts how they can react to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Europe is facing the biggest wake up call in their past "fudging" of so many political calls and how it ever got caught in this energy dependency trap for significant parts of its Oil and Gas from one source, Russia, needs some better understanding, once the current massive scrambling for alternatives settles down- if it ever does

Any thoughts or opinions??

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Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Mar 18, 2022

As you pointed out, this didn't come out of the blue and plenty of people saw this risk and saw this happening. The question now is, what are we overlooking as risk factors now? Will lithium/cobalt supplies be the next victim, for example? 

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