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Russia conflict aggravates Ukraine’s grid dependence, Europe’s oil dependence

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Christopher Neely's picture
Independent Local News Organization

Journalist for nearly a decade with keen interest in local energy policies for cities and national efforts to facilitate a renewable revolution. 

  • Member since 2017
  • 725 items added with 353,211 views
  • Mar 8, 2022
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Amid the blood and horror of the war in Ukraine, the conflict has highlighted the tense and quiet geopolitics of energy in Europe. 

It was announced this week that the European Union, an organization that, in recent weeks, has moved with unprecedented unity and efficiency, would link its multi-national grid with Ukraine’s, and that Ukraine would disconnect its grid from Russia control. The fact that Russia had some direct control over Ukraine’s grid is both surprising and unsurprising. Sure, Russia is Europe’s largest energy producer in fossil fuels, supply 40% of Europe’s natural gas; but that an independent country would tie its grid to a neighbor with which they find themselves in constant conflict shows the power and desperation created by an energy system built upon a limited resource.

More surprising: the EU says the change could be completed within a few weeks. Yet, Russian dependence is not fully eliminated. Russia will not be able to control Ukraine’s grid frequency, but Ukraine and the EU will still depend, in the long term, on Russian energy imports. 

Via Reuters: “[It is] possible that Russia could take "retaliatory steps" affecting Europe's energy supplies in response to sanctions from the West, but that current gas storage levels and increased liquefied natural gas (LNG) deliveries could see Europe through this winter.”

 While it rages on, this war should not be turned into talking points for renewable energy policy, but it’s hard to not see this as a catalyst toward ramping up renewable energy projects and capabilities. It makes me wonder how many lives might have been saved had Europe not had to hesitate in the beginning because of their dependence on Russian fossil fuels. 

 

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