Opinion

The Energy Gang podcast: the EU's plan for energy self-sufficiency

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The energy crisis is showing no signs of abating. There’s a shortage of energy, and the world’s efforts to transition to low-carbon energy are met with countless hurdles.

Countries around the world are taking steps to mitigate the crisis caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine however. The EU announced a plan to stop using Russian oil, gas and coal – it’s called RepowerEU and would mean more renewable investment, more energy efficiency and a lot more hydrogen to cut demand for natural gas. Europe is heavily dependent on Russian supplies, particularly for natural gas, which creates problems for Europe’s foreign and security policy.

If the EU wants to punish Russia economically, it really needs to hit its energy exports. And that is difficult to do while businesses and consumers in Europe are absolutely reliant on those imports.

Next up it’s a look ahead to COP27 – what needs to be addressed in Egypt in November and what have we achieved since Glasgow last year? At COP26, a $500 billion investment was agreed to support green energy projects in developing countries, so how is that going?

Finally the gang look at the impacts of certain renewable projects on the local ecosystem. We all agree that the world needs to keep investing in and building large-scale renewable energy infrastructure projects: we need more offshore wind, larger solar farms, more hydrogen plants.

Drawing on the success of offshore wind in Europe, the rollout of wind farms is now accelerating along US coastlines, supported by the Biden administration, which has set a goal of 100% carbon-free electricity by 2035. In 2020, some 27 miles from the mainland, the first two offshore wind turbines in the US were installed off the coast of Virginia Beach. Since starting to operate in October that year, the turbines have created an artificial reef, offering a habitat for ocean life. With this change in the ecology of the area however, comes the downside. Wind farms can have negative effects on other wildlife, such as fish and ocean birds.

How do we build sustainably and avoid impacting the local ecology?

To discuss all this and more Ed is joined by Melissa Lott, the Director of Research at Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy. Joining them for the first time is Joseph Majkut, host of the Energy 360 podcast - which is produced by the Centre for Strategic and International Studies in Washington DC. Joseph is also the Director of the Energy Security and Climate Change Program at the CSIS.

Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @theenergygang and let us know what you thought of today's episode.

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