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Andris Piebalgs on European Energy Security

by Euan Mearns Sat Mar 8th, 2008 at 06:45:44 AM EST

In his second blog entry, Andris Piebalgs moves the focus to European energy security. A few choice excerpts for those who want to have a more spontaneous debate:

Europe is currently importing half of their energy needs, and according to most of the studies, our dependency may grow to 70%. We are running out of fossil fuels and our energy needs grow. This makes Europe terribly vulnerable. As Commissioner responsible for security of supply I often wondered, where are we going to get all that energy from? (my emphasis)

The EU is already a leader in renewable energy sources and we have taken a commitment to go further with a mandatory target of 20% of our final consumption by 2020......

Ambitious indeed, but I would like Europe to go far beyond this target and there are many reasons for that: climate change, competitiveness, development of new technologies, new companies, new jobs you name it. And if this was not enough, we simply have to think that every wind mill, every solar panel, every litre of biofuel makes the EU simply more independent.

And on the recent spat between Russia and Ukraine on gas supplies (discussed by Jerome here):

A first agreement was reached on the phone by Gazprom and Naftogaz Ukrainy chairmen, and normal deliveries of gas have been resumed. I must say that the fact that supplies to Europe remained unaltered during the bilateral conflict between Russia and Ukraine plays in favour of their reputation as reliable supply and transit country. But I am still concerned. What would it happen if the bilateral crisis had become worse? Will this happen again? What about if a key supply infrastructure is destroyed by an accident or a terrorist attack? What would be the consequences for Europe of geopolitical instability in key energy regions like the Gulf?

I have to say I am warming to Mr Piebalgs appreciation of the precarious state of European energy security and the proposed expansion of renewables targets will receive my full support - with one glaring exception.

One omission from the whole strategy is energy efficiency. This I believe must lie at the heart of everything we do.

There's also a discussion thread on The Oil Drum Europe.

I added this comment (awaiting moderation - probably until Monday...):

If security of supply is such an issue, why is so little done to (i) focus policies and politicians on demand reduction and (ii) stop investing in scarce-resource-consuming energy use?

(i) the EU Commission should stop spending all its political capital on unbundling which, however one might think it will be useful, is not understood by the population and thus distracts attention from policies that all could comprehend and participate in;

(ii) competitive markets lead to additional investment in gas-fired plants, as they are the easiest and least risky to finance by the private sector. Thus the main tool of current EU energy policies brings results which are in direct contradiction with the goal of improving security of supplies (not to mention climate change efforts, as burning gas also emits carbon dioxide, even if less than coal). If we are so worried about Russian gas (something I think is unhelpful, as I explain here: http://www.eurotrib.com/story/2008/3/4/83643/48655), then we should certainly NOT have policies that encourage more gas burning.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sat Mar 8th, 2008 at 06:37:06 PM EST
Given the lively debate at TOD I think we should focus on using that site for these discussions, rather than having them spread over several venues.

I put my 2 cents in, and I notice Jerome has done the same.

Periodic reminders here to send people there would still be in order.

Policies not Politics
---- Daily Landscape

by rdf (robert.feinman@gmail.com) on Mon Mar 10th, 2008 at 01:08:36 PM EST

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