The Big Picture
Surely this is what many professionals in the energy sector are wrestling with at the moment: to get the Big Energy Picture. After all it is only if you get the Big Picture right that you will be able to take the right smaller decisions along the way.
One of those ‘small matters’ that policymakers are confronted with is shale gas. The US embraced it and got a gas boom – but at what price, is not clear yet. France went the other way and completely nipped shale gas exploitation and even exploration in the bud.
The law prohibiting shale gas activities that was adopted by the French parliament on 13 July did seem to leave some loopholes, as we reported earlier. However, as Boris Martor and Raphaël Chétrit of the Parisian law firm Eversheds write in today’s main article on EER, there are now two new bills pending in parliament that threaten to kill off all shale gas activities in France for the foreseeable future.
These proposals, based not on scientific arguments but on ‘ideological blindness’, they argue, will have very detrimental results in terms of the Big Energy Picture. They will make France and the EU extremely dependent on gas imports (i.e. on Russia) in future. You can read their lucid but alarming analysis by clicking here.
Meanwhile, in Scotland, the government seems to have no doubt as to how to go forward with the country’s energy future. It is opting for a massive expansion of offshore wind power, with the aim of supplying 100% of its electricity demand with renewable energy by 2020.
As the Scots also aim to export half of their electricity production, they may be able to help out the French ten years from now. To see this Picture emerge, however, somehow requires a Big Leap of Faith. But who knows? To read about the sweeping Scottish green energy ambitions, click here.
|Coming up on European Energy Review|
- European oil refinery sector fears for its future
- How to fit millions of electric cars into the (German) energy grid
- New report: how to build a European-wide CO2 pipeline network
- The prospects of geothermal energy
By Karel Beckman
European energy companies will not be able to finance the transition to a decarbonised power system on their own. They will need the help of institutional investors. But these investors will only become involved if policymakers reduce the policy risks associated with low-carbon energy sources, concludes the European Climate Foundation in a new report on how to finance Europe’s transition to a low-carbon economy.
By Sonja van Renssen
For the first time, Brussels is taking concrete steps to wrest control of external energy policy from the EU member states. The European Commisson wants to monitor all intergovernmental energy deals between EU member states and third countries. In the longer term, also it wants to be allowed to negotiate energy deals on behalf of the EU. The proposals come at a sensitive time in the history of the European Union.
By Reiner Gatermann
The Lithuanian government has come into sharp conflict with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), over the dismantling of the Ignalina nuclear power plant. In addition, the project is facing a financing gap of €1.5 billion after 2014.
By Michael T. Klare
A 30-year war for energy preeminence? You wouldn’t wish it even on a desperate planet. But that’s where we’re headed and there’s no turning back, says energy author and Professor of Peace and World Security Studies Michael Klare.
By Matthew Hulbert
The Rosneft-ExxonMobil deal looks sensational at first sight, but the actual commitments from the two companies are still quite small. Both sides look to be hedging their bets. Which means Exxon’s rivals can still hope to become part of Russia’s Arctic future.
By Atanas Georgiev
Bulgarians are asking themselves whether shale gas would be the best way of achieving greater energy independence and what its potential environmental hazards might be. Both for Europe and Russia there is more at stake than may be apparent at first sight. Atanas Georgiev reports from Sofia.
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