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Should the EU Look Beyond Its Borders?
- Mar 16, 2023 12:07 pm GMT
Europe is continuing to deal with the latest strains on their grid. These strains have largely spawned from the EU trying to transition from fossil fuels and the War in Ukraine. A piece from Dr.Ceyhun Osmanli in Modern Diplomacy maps out a potential way forward.
Osmanli notes that the EU is pushing its members to be completely free of Russian energy as soon as possible. Osmanli shares how Azerbaijan can replace the loss of Russian gas. Azerbaijan has already established pipelines with several nearby countries, such as Greece and Bulgaria, but an even greater investment can help Azerbaijan supply more energy to the region.
Osmanli discusses how 10 EU nations have already turned to Azerbaijan to increase energy flow, but in the meantime, Azerbaijan has been partnering with non-EU nations such as Turkmenistan, Turkey, Kazakhstan, and Iran to increase the regional flow of energy.
Beyond fossil fuels, Azerbaijan has also provided renewable energy to the EU through wind farms in Azerbaijan. As with fossil fuels, Osmanli argues that increased investment in Azerbaijan’s solar and wind power could help alleviate the EU’s problems with energy.
This is an interesting piece. For an entity like the EU, the priority for energy will of course be for within the EU. But since the EU received energy from Russia, the EU is not above getting energy beyond its borders. The EU’s energy strains do mean that they should look for new sources. Osmanli is of course a proponent of turning to Azerbaijan.
One potential issue is that Azerbaijan is controversial due its conflict with Armenia. No matter how someone feels about that conflict, they have to admit the reality that many government and political actors have taken sides in the conflict, so that could complicate passing legislation to make Osmanli’s proposals possible.
Additionally, proponents of renewable energy would likely take issue with at least part of Osmanli’s proposal. They would not like that it involves using more fossil fuels. Moreover, some might argue that it is more efficient for the EU to invest within its own borders to create solar and wind energy.
If a proposal like this could move forward, it remains to be seen how it could factor into load management. It is possible countries closer to Azerbaijan might benefit more without EU wide investments in pipelines. It is best to consider all solutions, but it is also important to consider how it impacts the EU overall.
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