The Big Picture: European Energy Crisis
Updated: Nov 3, 2021
Written & Edited by: Vanessa Lu Langley
"This crisis could be Europe’s catalyst towards an independent and renewably sourced power grid"
The European Union is currently facing a most significant energy crisis. The lack of available natural gas is raising electricity and gas prices which have seen record-breaking surges. As the colder months approach, the demand for energy will also be increasing exponentially raising the question of where will the EU find enough energy?
Currently, the EU is heavily reliant on natural gas (a less polluting fossil fuel), using it as a bridge in their transition to renewable fuels. This crisis arises from the global shortage of this energy source forcing them to consider other options that have served them reliably in the past, like coal. However, coal is one of the most polluting energy sources and would completely reverse all the hardfought progress towards the EU’s goal of at least 32% of their energy coming from renewable sources (2030 Climate & Energy Framework, 2021). Instead of turning back to coal, the EU could look into progressing their green energy transition.
The EU could have avoided this problem had they transitioned to renewable sources earlier. The natural gas they consume is mainly imported from countries like Russia, who are currently unable to provide the required amount, whereas the renewable energy would be produced by themselves allowing more autonomy within the EU. This crisis could be Europe’s catalyst towards an independent and renewably sourced power grid. They could significantly distance themselves from fossil fuels, such as the petroleum and natural gas they are currently heavily reliant on seeing as around 71% of their energy is sourced from fossil fuels (Where Does Our Energy Come From?, 2019). Any sort of negotiation to purchase more fossil fuels would be a viable short term solution. However, an investment into green energy sources would be preferable in the long run (Cohen, 2021).
2030 climate & energy framework. (2021). European Commission. https://ec.europa.eu/clima/eu-action/climate-strategies-targets/2030-climate-energy-framework_en
Shedding light on energy on the EU: Where does our energy come from? (2019). Eurostat. https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/cache/infographs/energy/bloc-2a.html
Cohen, A. (2021, October 14). Europe’s Self-Inflicted Energy Crisis. Forbes.https://www.forbes.com/sites/arielcohen/2021/10/14/europes-self-inflicted-energy-crisis/