The European Union didn’t have to become dependent on Russian gas. Ukraine didn’t have to be a vital player in a geopolitical energy monopoly. European countries absolutely have the potential to keep their own homes heated. We know because they used to before the green energy fetish took off.
But while the new EU energy independence plan has some sensible components, a good deal of it is more of the same green madness.
The EU has enough gas in storage — storage filling is just under 30% — for the winter heating season, the EC said, “even in case of full disruption of supplies from Russia.” But the EU must refill gas storage tanks before the next winter heating season.
The EU has already been speaking with countries besides Russia to obtain gas through pipelines or by liquid natural gas, including Algeria, Azerbaijan, Egypt, Israel, Japan, Korea, Nigeria, Norway, Qatar, Turkey and the U.S. Those conversations have allowed the EU to import a record amount of liquid natural gas in January and February. The European Commission said those developing relationships will allow for another 50 billion cubic meters each year.
These are the relatively sane components of the plan. As a practical matter, I’m skeptical about the 50 billion number and some of these countries are not currently ready to provide any meaningful supplies, but at least it’s thinking in pragmatic terms about gas supplies.
But then there’s the usual green nonsense.
Producing 35 billion cubic meters of biomethane by 2030, which is doubling the previously stated goals. To do this, the EU would use biomass sources such as agricultural waste.
Any green plan that’s aimed at 2030 might as well be 2233. And it gets worse from here.
Creating a Hydrogen Accelerator to develop necessary infrastructure, storage and port capabilities. The goal here is for the EU to replace 25 to 50 billion cubic meters per year of imported Russian gas by 2030 with renewable hydrogen, which is hydrogen produced with an electrolyzer powered by renewable energy sources, such as wind or solar.
Aggressively investing in improving energy efficiency in homes, buildings and industries, which it estimates can save 25 billion cubic meters each year .
Accelerating the rollout of renewables, both wind and solar, and heat pumps. For solar, the EU should accelerating the rollout of rooftop solar systems up to 15 terawatt-hours this year, which would save 2.5 billion cubic meters of gas. The European Commission promised a more full communication on the EU’s solar strategy in June.
So Russian dependency for the foreseeable future.
Accelerating the rollout of renewables is how Europe got here in the first place. Solar and wind are not going to replace reliable energy supplies. They will make some select investors and consultants rich while seeing to it that senior citizens go on freezing to death in the winter.