No matter what Europe does this winter, it is going to be a difficult few months. They will likely serve as a stark reminder that Europe has neglected diversification for expedience.
As the fighting in Ukraine reaches a strategic stalemate, the conflict’s impact on energy markets is intensifying.
The price of gas is going up, supplies continue to tighten, and the prospect of shortages, and even blackouts across Europe, seem ever more likely.
Now, every European government is working overtime to address the issue, making long overdue investments in new technologies, and infrastructure to find a solution before it reaches a crisis point.
Even before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine destabilised global energy supplies, European energy markets desperately needed a technological upgrade, systems were too carbon intensive, and inefficient.
It has also been clear for some time that Europe’s reliance on Russia came at the expense of this investment — it should not have required a geopolitical crisis to instigate the wealth of commitments from Europe we are seeing today.
In particular it is difficult, now, not to question the years of investment in Nord Stream 1 and 2 as Europe slowly reduces its dependence on Russian supplies, and the scenario of a total cut off by the Kremlin appears more likely. Time and money that should have gone into developing Europe’s renewable infrastructure was instead funnelled to a pipeline with serious security challenges that also brought with it an overdependence on one supplier.
Now, finally the EU and its members are making the right moves, recognising the importance of diversifying energy supplies, particularly around hydrogen.
The EU has announced 5.4 billion euros worth of subsidies for the development of new hydrogen technology value chains. It is also investing an additional 300 euros million in hydrogen research and is calling for universities and research institutions to present innovative solutions to over 41 hydrogen research topics.
These initiatives are expected to drive private investments into the energy sector, and it is believed that 8.8 billion euros will enter the…