Brussels / Oslo-EU officials said they will temporarily return to coal to deal with the slowdown in Russia’s gas flow as tight gas markets and rising prices have caused competition for alternative fuels.
European leaders deepened their energy stand-off after the flow through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline was reduced to only 40% of capacity and the Ukrainian invasion urged Europe to impose strict sanctions on Moscow. I toured Russia.
The International Energy Agency (IEA) said Europe needs to replace Russia’s energy supply to address gas shortages, increasing efficiency and renewable energy, including nuclear power.
In a statement from the Reuters news agency, IEA Prime Minister Fatih Birol warned that as winter approaches, Russia may continue to find excuses to cut supplies or stop altogether. Russia denies that supply cuts are planned.
Another flash point of the energy crisis could come to the Baltic states.
The Lithuanian president told Reuters that Russia is ready to shut down the country from a common grid in retaliation for blocking rail transport of Russian products to Moscow’s Kaliningrad.
The Kremlin promised retaliation without specifying what form it could take.
European Commission officials say that in the light of President Vladimir Putin’s actions, Europe will temporarily seek fossil fuels to replace Russia’s gas, but these moves do not undermine long-term climate change goals. Said.
“Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine has created an emergency for the EU,” Elina Bardrum, director of international affairs and climate finance for the European Commission, told the African Energy Forum in Brussels.
“It’s a very fraudulent move we’ve been observing from the Putin administration in that Gazprom suddenly reduces flow, and we’re taking some very important steps, all of which are temporary. “She added, referring to the increase in coal use.
Search for alternatives
Countries have outlined a series of steps to endure a supply crisis to address concerns about inflation spikes that can test Europe’s determination to maintain winter energy shortages and sanctions on Russia.
Germany’s Treasury Minister Christian Lindner said Tuesday night that there was a risk of a serious economic crisis, emphasizing the need for alternatives to overcome the energy shortage of more than three years.
Russia’s gas flow to Europe via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline and delivery via Ukraine were stable on Wednesday, but significantly more than last week when Gazprom curtailed capacity due to technical issues. It remained low.
It was only partially confirmed that the Italian energy company ENI requested gas from Gazprom on Wednesday.
Benchmark gas prices in Europe were trading at around € 127 ($ 133) per megawatt hour (MWh). This is below the peak of the year at 335 euros, but at the level a year ago it has risen by more than 300%.
Europe is scrambling to fill its winter gas reserves (currently 55%), fearing further disruptions in supply from Russia, which has already blocked some customers.
Lindner’s warning was issued after Germany’s BDI industry group said that Europe’s largest economic recession would be inevitable if Russia cut off gas supplies.
The EU and other developed countries have sanctioned Russia’s oil and coal, but postponed a ban on gas imports.
According to the IEA, strengthening aging nuclear infrastructure could rest on rising electricity prices and tight supply.
“In light of the renewed interest in the role of nuclear power in the transition to clean energy, the war … emphasized the need to explore options for investing in new facilities and reopening existing (uranium) conversion plants.”
Broadly speaking, the $ 2.4 trillion to be invested in energy this year included record spending on renewables, but did not close the supply gap and tackle climate change. did.
Noah Browning and Nora Buri