Russia-Ukraine war could set back Europe’s decarbonization plans by a decade

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine could force Europe to delay key decarbonization efforts for up to a decade, a leading regional energy expert in Greece has warned.

“They don’t have much choice anymore,” said Roudi Baroudi, CEO of Energy and Environment Holding, an independent consultancy based in Doha. “Unless some European countries pull out all the stops, much of the continent could soon face crippling shortages, prohibitive prices, or both.”

Now that Europe is set to cut imports of Russian oil and gas, he explained, some of the measures supposed to reduce carbon emissions may have to be postponed “by eight, nine, maybe 10 years. “, as would planned shutdowns of nuclear power plants. stations.

“The European Union will have to provide the necessary authorizations in some cases, as well as the funding in others,” he said. “Eight to 10 nuclear power plants and up to 30 coal-fired plants that are due for decommissioning will need to stay online to meet electricity demand, and several projects needed to replace Russian gas will need to be accelerated with funding and/or additional warranties.”

If and when gas stops flowing through pipelines from Russia, Baroudi told the 7th Economic Forum in Delphi last week, “it cannot be replaced by simply ordering more liquefied natural gas from Qatar, the United States and/or other producers. Europe does not have enough reception facilities to regasify such large quantities, which is why efforts to increase capacity in Germany and the Netherlands are so urgent.

Coordinated releases of strategic oil reserves by the United States and other countries help contain upward pressure on crude and other energy prices, he said, but reasonable levels “don’t can be sustained only if more supply comes to market, which means oil producers – mainly OPEC but others as well – have to start pumping more.

On yet another front, “Spain has both spare LNG reception capacity and an undersea gas pipeline for gas imports from North Africa – but very little of that can reach the rest of Europe unless and until a new gas pipeline connects the Iberian Peninsula to the rest of Europe via France,” said Baroudi, who has been advising businesses and governments on energy policy for decades. “Paris has recently expressed a new openness to this idea, but the EU can and must do more to facilitate it. It should also do more to establish an agreed route for another pipeline to transport gas from the eastern Mediterranean to the Greece and/or Turkey.

Baroudi also argued that the EU would be wise to ensure adequate capital flows into renewable energy such as wind and solar. “We may have to conserve fossil fuels longer than expected, but that’s no reason to stop funding a cleaner future,” he said. “In fact, this is a reason to act as quickly as possible.”

“The whole situation is very sad,” he added. “Since the Paris agreements of 2015, and especially since the Glasgow climate summit last year, Europe has been on the right track to prepare for a decarbonized economy. But now those plans are temporarily pushed into the background. In addition to the lives lost in the fighting, the energy and economic implications will mean severe hardship across the continent, especially for low-income people. And a large part of the cause is due to the fact that Europe has been lagging behind in diversifying its sources of supply. Now he is scrambling to avert economic disaster.

Mary I. Bruner