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How the EU is Handling Grid Challenges

Todd Carney's picture
Writer, Freelance

Todd Carney is a graduate of Harvard Law School. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Public Communications. He writes on many different aspects of energy, in particular how it...

  • Member since 2021
  • 116 items added with 23,040 views
  • Feb 10, 2023

New Agreement

Last month, the EU nations agreed to set up a program that would develop off-shore renewable energy by 2050, with an aim to try to develop the first stages of these initiatives by as early as 2030. The idea is that the first wave of grids would come in 2030, then 2040, and finally 2050. The specific sources for the grids would be windmills in the water, off the coast. By placing the windmills offshore, they will hopefully be exposed to more wind and interfere less with mainland Europe.  There will be five main areas of grids, a group in the Northern Seas, a group in the Baltics, a group in the South and West, ones in the Atlantic, and a group in the South and the East.

This seems promising but it is a lofty plan that will take decades to accomplish. It is good to plan ahead and to be ambitious. But the EU will need to be transparent and closely monitor development, so it finishes on time and on budget. In the meantime, the EU will likely have to come up with other solutions to the energy woes in the next few decades.

Italy’s Solution

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni has made waves for a variety of reasons. Her latest initiative that is creating headlines is her plan to make Italy an energy hub for the EU. As the EU does more to ween itself off of Russian energy, it has come up with funding for initiatives that provides new sources of energy. The money set aside is about 225 billion euros. Meloni is partnering with several African countries that have their own sources of energy. Meloni would like to create things like pipelines that would transfer energy from these nations to Italy. Then Italy could send this energy throughout the EU. Meloni announced that she will apply for funding from the EU’s energy fund for this initiative.

Given the situation the EU finds itself in, all initiatives should be considered. Clearly the EU cannot go completely green yet. So, if it wants gas and oil, the next closest place besides Russia is from countries like Algeria. Europe has had its issues with North Africa, but it has not been anything like the conflict with Russia. Given how big the EU is, other EU nations who are in a better position to receive energy from elsewhere, should also come up with a similar initiative.

France’s Issue

A policy decision from another EU nation that does not look as optimistic is France’s continued instance on relying less on nuclear energy. As France struggles with energy, they are still closing down additional nuclear reactors. This decision does not just impact France, it impacts all of the EU, as France has exported a lot of this energy. Now the use of French nuclear energy is at a 30-year low. If France cannot find new energy sources than their lack of reliance on nuclear energy could cause them to rely on more on fossil fuels, which would make their moves counterproductive.

While there can be logistical challenges with nuclear energy in terms of where the waste can be dispersed, it is clear the environmental movement has overreacted to nuclear energy. It is possible that some day it will make sense to rely on solar and wind over nuclear energy, that day is long off. Nations need to rely on nuclear energy, especially if they want to rely on fossil fuels less. The current policies on nuclear energy is creating short-term and long-term risks to grids throughout the EU.


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