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EE Urgency in Europe

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Henry Craver's picture
Small Business Owner Self-employed

As a small business owner, I'm always trying to find ways to cut costs and boost the dependability of my services. To that end, I've become increasingly invested in learning about energy saving...

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  • Dec 13, 2022
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Europe is in the throws of a generational energy crisis. The reasons behind soaring power prices in Europe are no secret: Post COVID supply and demand problems and reduced gas supply from Russia. For their part, EU governments have made valiant and impressive efforts to detach their economies from Russian gas. New generation and new energy deals, however, cannot replace Russian energy in its entirety. This fact has led many governments and industry commentators to bang the EE drum. 

Here's how a recent article in the Financial Times puts it: 

Europe needs large-scale investment to retrofit the economy and green its energy supply. These investments are the only way the EU economy can remain competitive. Investment at the EU level financed by joint borrowing would be cheapest. The Recovery and Resilience Facility that the EU set up in response to the Covid-19 pandemic goes some way in this direction, but the urgency of shifting away from Russian fossil fuels calls for more. As commission president Ursula von der Leyen said recently, REPowerEU, the EU’s plan to get off Russian gas, “needs greater firepower to accelerate the clean transition”.

While I'm often skeptical of energy efficiency advocacy in this age, it definitely makes sense in many European countries right now. Energy efficiency is the stop gap measure they need while their de-russification energy policies mature. This is especially true in places like France where there are plenty of easy EE wins thanks to the segment's relative obscurity until now. 

Discussions
Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Dec 13, 2022

This is the work that should have been put in for years, removing reliance on Russian gas in less than a year leading up to winter was never going to be fully sufficient. Shows the need for all countries to have more forward looking approaches to potential unexpected events and volatility

Michael Keller's picture
Michael Keller on Dec 19, 2022

Europe mindlessly embarked on a policy of embracing the green energy religion and is now reaping the inevitable result. Doubling down on such stupidity will make the dismal situation even worse.

The government elite and rich liberals are unaffected by the economic carnage they create. The lives of the poor and middle class are made forever worse.

Mark Silverstone's picture
Mark Silverstone on Dec 21, 2022

I hear a great deal of «monday morning quarterbacking» on Europe’s energy issues. I would only wish that Europe had gone earlier and deeper into the greening of its energy supply. «If we had known then what we know now» is all too easy to say. In retrospect it is all too easy to forget: 

1. Russia was a reliable supplier of cheap gas for many years. It was hailed as the integrating force to keep the peace in Europe by building solid commercial ties. 

2. Less than a year ago, there was no one predicting the invasion of Ukraine. There was, however, warning of the unreliablility of the Russian gas supply.

3. The failure of the French nuclear power supply was certainly not anticipated. Again, in retrospect, there was every reason to distrust that energy supply.

4. Again, in retrospect, the  gas shortfall could have and should have been avoided by incorporating Spain and Portugal’s gas supplies into the European network.

5. Finally, again in retrospect, relatively simple FSR (Floating Storage and Regasification) hubs, now belatedly under  construction,  could have provided another alternative to Russian gas.

It is puerile to regard a rush to green sources as the sole, or even major reason for today’s predicament. Indeed, quicker development of wind, hydro and wind resources is yet another «woulda, shoulda, coulda» that would have helped to avoid the higher energy costs. Having said that, the construction of the gas and electricity networks from and to Europe, including the UK and Norway, including wind and hydro, is providing a great deal of the gas and electricity required in mainland Europe.  Those resources, in addition to the conservation measures that are in progress, as mentioned in the article, are better late than never, even if too little too late. The addiction to cheap fossil fuel imports was always going to end badly. There are, without a doubt, more wars that will yet result, as many earlier wars have been, as a result of the world’s fossil fuel addiction.
It is a great deal like blaming the «failure» of renewable sources for the blackouts in Texas’ unusual winter cold snap. 

Hindsight is a great thing. It allows foolish people to point fingers at their villain of choice, whether it be the right wing, the left wing, poor people, rich people, minorities, majorities. 
The carnage, in this case, is very much due to the evil that is right in front of our noses: An invasion of one country by another in order to re-establish an empire based on fossil fuel resources. None of the other contributing factors come close. 
 

 

Michael Keller's picture
Michael Keller on Dec 21, 2022

The Germans and a number of other countries got rid of their nuclear power plants while embracing being energy dependent on a malevolent fascist country. They were repeatedly warned of the consequences, but choose to mindlessly embrace the green energy religion.

The Europeans have reaped the consequences of their I’ll-conceived policies. Worse, our energy costs have been massively increased as our natural gas is diverted to Europe.

The elite in the U.S. are determined to follow the same stupidity demonstrated by the Europeans, largely to simply line their own pockets with money.

Energy production and use must be based on rationality, as opposed to hysterical emotional overreaction to the claims of zealots.

Henry Craver's picture
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