By / June 23, 2014

In Focus: Energy Security

Will the people of Europe have difficulty to keep warm this winter? Recent events in Ukraine have highlighted the weakness…

© Sergey Nivens / Fotolia

Will the people of Europe have difficulty to keep warm this winter? Recent events in Ukraine have highlighted the weakness of the EU’s current energy supply arrangements. This week we take a look at the issue, the alternatives, and the possible actions to be taken.

The importance of a secure energy supply to the EU was brought to the fore on 16 June when Russia stopped supplying gas to Ukraine – a move that also threatens to reduce the flow of Russian gas to the EU. To provide you with the whole picture, we are just finalizing our keysource on Gazprom and Russian gas.

The EU remains dependent on energy imports

But, why do we need Russian gas, you might ask. Almost half of the energy used in the EU is produced by EU Member States. For the other half, the EU depends on imports, which make up two thirds of its gas consumption and 86% of its oil use. Our infographic about EU energy production and imports paints the picture.

Energy and climate policy on the agenda of EU summit

These are valid reasons that EU leaders will meet on 26-27 June to discuss the proposed European Energy Security Strategy and to hammer out a post-2020 policy framework for energy and climate. Our keysource on the EU 2030 climate and energy framework provides more information on the proposed policy framework. In addition, our briefing on EU climate and energy policies post-2020 and a publication Secure, clean and affordable energy for Europe explain EU energy policy in detail.

What about alternative fuels?

© Sergey Nivens / Fotolia

While renewable energy sources are well established for electricity generation, imported fossil fuels are harder to substitute for heating and transport. Biofuels and biogas made from plants are increasingly important EU energy sources. But these too pose the question that we might be improving energy security at the expense of food supply security? Learn more about this debate in our keysource “food versus fuel”.

Another alternative is that cars, buses and lorries could run on electricity, gas or hydrogen. But what happens when you run out of fuel? Our publication deployment of alternative fuels infrastructure summarises the EU initiatives to establish networks of filling stations for these fuels. CO2 could even be used to produce fuel – discover the state of play in this research area in our study methanol – a future transport fuel based on hydrogen and carbon dioxide?

…and fracking?

North America has managed to reduce its energy imports by exploiting shale gas, tight oil and oil sands. Could the American experience be a model for other regions? Find out about the impacts of these alternative extraction methods on the economy, the climate and the environment in our in-depth analysis unconventional oil and gas in North America.

We hope certainly hope we raised interest with our selection of publications on energy. Nevertheless, if you are eager to read more, you are more than welcome to browse further publications on energy or share your favourite visual from our energy section on the Graphics Warehouse.


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  • One glove fits all policy is plain daft, it’s like the daft policy of water when countries like Ireland have to adopt the same policy as a Spanish drought zone this has to be a national competence!

    • There are many things to discuss about this particular question but, anyway, the general framework must be based on strength EU competences on energy and reduce the risk associated to external dependence while trying to increase the EU energy production.

      • There are no threats to our energy needs, just an ambivalence within EU countries to face facts. There are colossal reserves of coal & with modern technology no reason not to use it. My power Station at Ratcliffe on Sour produces Gypsum as a by-product of this technology so for the past 20 odd years we haven’t been mining Gypsum in our village & the result is that we don’t wake up in the morning to find our plants covered in white dust. Coal does work, it is reliable & cost effective & with modern technology & when you consider there is less need for mining building materials it is the best option for powering the country & if it is mixed with Nuclear there should be no need to import any gas as we have enough reserves for domestic needs. It is about getting the mix right & not relying on other EU nations who can switch the tap off at the drop of a hat & that is why it should be a national competence. We dont need Russian gas so why should we be taking action against out interests because some former Soviet satellite country has picked a fight it can’t win?

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