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In Focus: Energy Security

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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