By Zeynep Önal
Despite high tension and insecure socio-political atmosphere, the Europe has overcome the last winter. Russia’s Ukrainian invasion, Putin’s aggression and economic black mills have revealed the Europe’s weakness on specific themes such as food security and energy security. Especially, the energy security factor has attracted the attention as the biggest vulnerability of Europe in front of Russia. The European Union’s dependence on Russia in energy has been the most controversial topic. In this short piece, we will have a look at the current status and remarkable highlights of the European Union’s energy agenda. However, firstly, what does energy security means and why it is important for the Europe will be elaborated.
Energy security is the uninterrupted availability of energy sources at an affordable price. It is important for Europe because it ensures that the continent has a reliable and stable supply of energy to meet its needs. This is essential for economic growth, social well-being, and national security.
Europe is particularly vulnerable to energy supply disruptions, given that it imports over 50% of its energy needs. This reliance on imports makes Europe susceptible to geopolitical shocks, such as the ongoing war in Ukraine, which has caused energy prices to soar.
Energy security is also important for Europe's climate goals. The continent is committed to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions and transitioning to a clean energy economy. This transition cannot be achieved without a secure and reliable supply of renewable energy.
Here are some of the key benefits of energy security for Europe:
Economic growth: A reliable supply of affordable energy is essential for economic growth. Businesses need a steady flow of energy to operate and consumers need access to affordable energy to power their homes and businesses.
Social well-being: Energy security also helps to ensure social well-being. Access to affordable energy is essential for basic human needs, such as heating, cooling, and lighting. Energy insecurity can lead to poverty, social unrest, and even conflict.
National security: Energy security is also a matter of national security. A country that is reliant on energy imports is vulnerable to geopolitical shocks and blackmail. A secure supply of energy helps to protect a country's sovereignty and national interests.
The European Union is taking a number of steps to improve its energy security, including:
Reducing its reliance on fossil fuels: The EU is investing heavily in renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind power. It is also reducing its reliance on Russian gas.
Diversifying its energy supply: The EU is diversifying its energy supply by importing energy from a variety of sources, including liquefied natural gas (LNG) and renewable energy.
Improving energy efficiency: The EU is also investing in energy efficiency measures to reduce its energy consumption. This will help to reduce its reliance on energy imports and make its energy system more resilient to shocks.
Energy security is a complex and multifaceted issue, but it is essential for Europe's economic prosperity, social well-being, and national security. The EU is taking a number of steps to improve its energy security, but more needs to be done to ensure a reliable and affordable supply of energy for all Europeans.
A Snapshot Dump fort the Current Situation
- Europe has been heavily reliant on Russian gas for many years. In 2021, Russia supplied around 45% of the EU's gas imports. However, since the war in Ukraine, Europe has been trying to reduce its reliance on Russian gas.
- The EU has set a target of reducing its gas imports from Russia by two-thirds by the end of the year.
- Europe is also looking to increase its imports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from other countries.
- Europe has made some progress in reducing its reliance on Russian gas. In the first seven months of 2023, Russian gas imports to the EU fell by 34% compared to the same period in 2022.
- However, Europe is still heavily reliant on Russian gas, and it is unclear how it will cope without Russian gas altogether this winter.
- Europe is working to fill its gas storage facilities and to secure alternative gas supplies. However, there is a risk that Europe could face a gas shortage this winter, especially if there is a cold winter.
The situation is fluid and evolving, and it is difficult to predict what will happen in the future. However, it is clear that Europe is facing a significant challenge in its efforts to reduce its reliance on Russian gas and to secure a reliable and affordable supply of energy. Plus, the European institutions create and implement various policy roadmaps such as REPower EU plan, Fit fot 55 package and EU Green Deal to reach clean, affordable and reliable energy in the coming years. We’ll see how the energy equations and alternatives change in the near future.