Home NewsAfrica Russia-Ukraine war puts energy transition at a crossroads | Fin24

Russia-Ukraine war puts energy transition at a crossroads | Fin24

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Europe is under pressure to cut off Russian energy sources amid the the Ukraine war.

Europe is below strain to chop off Russian vitality sources amid the the Ukraine conflict.

Andrea Ronchini/NurPhoto/Getty Photos

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is upending the worldwide transition away from fossil fuels within the struggle in opposition to local weather change.

In some methods, the conflict is slowing the shift and giving outdated vitality new life. In others, it’s bolstering the argument that including extra electrical automobiles to roads and putting in extra wind generators and photo voltaic panels can increase vitality independence. In some locations, each are taking place without delay.

This a lot is obvious: With out Russian vitality, nations across the globe are being compelled to make laborious selections on easy methods to gas their economies, placing the vitality transition at a crossroad.

“The priority is that the knee-jerk response is to simply concentrate on fossil fuels,” stated Ethan Zindler, an analyst at BloombergNEF, the vitality information and evaluation unit of Bloomberg. “However long term, it bodes properly for vitality transition.”


The frenzy to punish Russia by deserting its vitality choices has led to a short-term surge in demand for coal, regardless of its grim long-term prospects. That demand has despatched costs to document highs. Days after Russia invaded Ukraine, considerations about provide drove the Australian benchmark for thermal coal to $440 (about R6475) a metric ton, greater than 5 instances the worth a 12 months earlier.

However whereas hovering coal consumption is a setback to the local weather struggle, it’s additionally true that miners of the dirtiest of fossil fuels are struggling to extend manufacturing to fulfill that demand.

Gasoline and Crude

Hovering gasoline costs compelled US President Joe Biden to order an unprecedented launch of emergency home crude, a transfer geared at easing client ache in an election 12 months. His administration—which has tried to hurry the nation’s vitality transition—is also planning to permit expanded gross sales of gasoline with a higher-than-usual ethanol focus this summer time.

However $5-per-gallon gasoline focuses the thoughts on alternate options, which might be a boon for electrical automobiles, in keeping with Zindler.

“When fuel was at $2.50, you pulled out your spreadsheet to see the way you’d get monetary savings with an EV over 10 years,” he stated. “Now, the mathematics is getting simpler.”

Liquefied Pure Fuel

Even earlier than Russia’s invasion, Europe was paying a number of the world’s highest costs for pure fuel.

Now, in an effort to finish vitality dependence on Russia, a number of nations together with Germany, Latvia, Estonia, Greece and Italy are searching for to develop new import terminals for liquefied pure fuel. A number of of these potential European consumers not too long ago met with US LNG firms in Washington DC and Houston along with touring an LNG plant in Texas.

For the reason that begin of the conflict, US LNG builders have signed not less than 10 offers, offering momentum for stalled initiatives which have held federal permits for a number of years although lacked contracts and financing to maneuver ahead.


Whereas Europe scours for fossil fuels within the quick time period, the continent’s push away from Russian pure fuel is resulting in billions of {dollars} in new commitments for a low-carbon hydrogen market.

The objective is to substitute hydrogen for fossil fuels in manufacturing, transportation and heating.

Even earlier than Russia’s invasion, curiosity in hydrogen was mounting, primarily due to its obvious local weather advantages. However the conflict has accelerated that push.

Photo voltaic and Wind

Curiosity in much less polluting energy sources has additionally picked up, particularly in Europe, since the Russian invasion. The disaster introduced “to gentle the fragility round conventional vitality sources,” Jeff Waters, chief government officer of producer Maxeon Photo voltaic Applied sciences, stated in an interview.

Photo voltaic and wind energy are among the many least expensive electrical sources—plus, crucially for this second, there aren’t any gas prices.

“There has seldom been a extra compelling argument for us to speed up our funding into renewables, into home vitality sources, into clear vitality sources—each for our political and financial dependence, but additionally for for local weather change functions,” stated Christiana Figueres, a local weather advocate and former government secretary of the UN Framework Conference on Local weather Change. “These truly go hand in hand.”

–With help from Eric Roston, Sergio Chapa, Will Wade and Will Mathis.

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