Green transition: where will Europe's energy come from?
The EU wants to phase out climate-damaging energy sources. However, particularly on the issue of nuclear power the member states face huge challenges and are pulling in opposite directions. The debate has intensified as northern Europe is hit by a cold spell and the new German government presents its ambitious climate policy. Europe's press asks questions and struggles for answers.
Shortages make even the best partners selfish
Even countries like Norway and Sweden which are otherwise good neighbours aren't generous to each other during an energy crisis, Ria Novosti mocks:
“Things have gone so far that the Swedes banned the Norwegians from using the Swedish grid to transport Norwegian electricity. In response, the Norwegians cut their electricity deliveries to Sweden just when the country needed them most. Temperatures like the minus 43.8 degrees Celsius measured in northern Sweden for December haven't dropped so low since 1986. But energy squabbles in the 'friendly European family' threaten to become the norm for Europe in this energy-deficient winter. ... And that's only logical, because no one promised that its members would have adequate energy supplies during the green energy transition.”
Latvia missed the boat on wind energy
A sudden increase in the price of electricity has triggered intense debate about the use of wind energy in Latvia this week. The country would be in a far better position if it had invested earlier in this energy source, Gatis Galviņš from the wind power company SIA Eolus comments with annoyance in lr:
“Here in Latvia for too long we have naively believed that the ominous surge in energy prices would never reach us. We put our faith in the water at the three Daugava hydropower plants and cheap imported gas, ignoring the great potential of wind energy. The more electricity we generate from wind, the lower the price of electricity will be. ... That's why constructing new wind farms is important. Unfortunately, the government and local authorities have yet to create legislation to regulate this sector.”
Phasing out natural gas and nuclear power is unrealistic
Commenting in Mladá fronta dnes, Vladimír Dlouhý, President of the Czech Chamber of Commerce, criticises an EU climate policy which the Czech Republic can't afford:
“I am not questioning the need for an ambitious EU climate package. But I am questioning unrealistic targets and potential injustice. Of course natural gas is not emissions-free. Nevertheless, the Commission must accept its use for a long transitional period, at least until 2050. Moreover, the Czech Republic - like France, for example - has the right to develop its nuclear energy production. Let's do our best to support renewables with positive incentives, motivation and the promotion of research and development, but not under the pressure of unrealistic targets.”
Belgium not ready to shut down nuclear plants
The nuclear power company Engie Electrabel has said it won't be possible to continue operating the two nuclear power plants in Belgium after 2025. This effectively means nuclear energy will be phased out at that point in the country, De Morgen notes, complaining that the politicians haven't done their homework:
“Part of the energy supply will now have to come from the gas plants. In times when climate awareness is mandatory and energy policy is geopolitics this is hardly a justifiable option. ... Phasing out nuclear energy is not a new issue. ... But no action has been taken. The politicians always believed the issue could wait until tomorrow. Now it turns out that that is not the case. Once again the lack of long-term thinking in politics is painfully obvious.”
The energy sector website Energetyka24 has high hopes for Poland's plans to use nuclear energy:
“In the face of new challenges, the world is changing its attitude towards nuclear energy. Advancing climate change, triggered by the emission of gigatonnes of greenhouse gases, is forcing shift towards cutting emissions. ... Nuclear energy could be the answer to these problems. ... Poland stands out in Europe as a country with ambitious nuclear energy plans. The government in Warsaw wants to build two to three power plants with a total capacity of up to nine gigawatts. This energy source is to account for around 20 percent of the Polish energy mix in the 2040s.”