Renewable energy may be the key to prolonged energy securityMay 16, 2014
Energy ministers gather to discuss issues concerning Europe’s reliance on Russian natural gas
Last week, energy ministers representing the G7 countries concluded a special meeting that was held in Rome. The meeting focused on Europe’s reliance on Russia and what impact this ongoing reliance could have from an energy security and stability perspective. Europe currently receives a third of its natural gas from Russia, but political tensions are throwing this energy supply into jeopardy. Finding an alternative source of natural gas, or increasing focus on renewable energy, is becoming a priority issue.
Ukraine crisis causes political fallout
Russia was suspended from the collective formerly known as the Group of Eight (G8), now known as the Group of Seven (G7). The suspension is linked to the ongoing crisis in Ukraine, where Russia is pressing a claim on land that had long been sovereign and independent. The crisis has been worsened by the political fallout it has caused, which could threaten to trigger military action and similar issues if this fallout is not managed appropriately.
Energy ministers want to reduce reliance on Russian fuels
G7 energy ministers are interested in conducting a sort of “disarmament process,” but instead of focusing on bombs and guns, they want to focus on energy. Russia has access to an abundance of resources that other countries have come to rely on. This has allowed Russia to position itself as a vital part of the world’s energy infrastructure and supply chain. Energy ministers are concerned that if the political climate continues to worsen, Russia could use energy as a sort of weapon against opposing countries, effectively cutting off access to fuel that some countries have become dependent on.
Renewable energy may help Europe achieve sustainable energy security
Focusing more heavily on renewable energy may be one of the ways to avoid this potential issue in the future. During the meeting, the G7 energy ministers drafter a plan that would mitigate the potential for energy being used as a weapon. This plan encourages the diversification of fuel sources, insisting that countries seek out a wide variety of fuel sources rather than receiving the majority of their fuel from a single source. The plan also calls for a variety of other actions that should be taken for the sake of energy security.