Unlocking European Energy Security
Did you miss the ‘Unlocking European Energy Security’ webcast with energy industry leaders, green hydrogen specialists and energy security experts as they discussed how we can accelerate the availability of green hydrogen and support Europe’s long-term energy security while meeting net zero targets? Watch the recording of the one-hour event that took place on June 7, 2022 here:
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has reinforced an inescapable truth: all nations need to prioritize energy security. Geopolitical uncertainty and volatility are nothing new. However, the increasing dependence across Europe on imported fossil fuels, reaching the highest level in over 30 years in 2019, means that economies and societies are increasingly susceptible to political uncertainty and shocks such as the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The impact of this can be seen as Europe’s businesses and consumers witness energy costs rise amid changes to the global supply and demand patterns for fossil fuels.
To address this, the production of renewable energy in Europe needs to be greatly accelerated and scaled up, and it needs to start happening now. It is vital that economies and communities remain resilient to volatility by embedding an energy system based on renewables based nationally and regionally.
At the same time, there is another inescapable truth: Europe needs to produce significantly more renewable energy in order to meet the net zero targets outlined in the Glasgow Climate Pact, which is key to tackling the climate emergency. Policymakers, business, and wider society must step up to the challenge of climate change to protect future generations as well as safeguard economic and social prosperity for all.
Fossil fuels should no longer dominate how energy is priced, and Europe clearly requires an urgent and rapid reduction in its reliance on imported oil and gas. The direct benefits from this shift include:
- Greater energy security
- Stabilization of energy prices
- An accelerated pathway for low-carbon energy transformation
- Green economy-driven growth such as technology, investment, employment, infrastructure
- A long-term healthy and sustainable energy market.
Energy security can’t be achieved with clean electricity alone. Many of Europe’s largest sectors – heavy industry and transportation – can’t be electrified easily and quickly. Unless this is addressed, these sectors will increasingly account for the bulk of imported fossil fuels.
In 2020, Europe a massive 96% of its crude oil. As Europe eyes decarbonization of its economy and society, it needs to unlock green hydrogen power these hard-to-electrify fertilizer, cement, shipping and aviation sectors.
The political, economic and social advantages of an economy powered by renewable energy are clear. However, the pathway to getting there is more complex.
The success of advancing power-to-x opportunities relies on the underlying systems and infrastructure that can support the change. Electrolyzer production needs to be scaled up while a distribution chain must be established to transport green hydrogen from producer to end-user. Increased production of energy also needs to be aligned with increasing storage capacity across Europe to manage and ensure supply, and to ensure grids can be stabilized.
The bloc is well equipped to increase renewable energy volumes. It has access to abundant on- and offshore wind to further decarbonize electricity production and ramp up green hydrogen production if the build-out of wind power plants is accelerated today. Europe has the expertise, investment and innovation to do so.
Yet, with all aspects of the transition to net zero, achieving energy security requires buy-in from and collaboration between governments, industry, and investors.
If key challenges limiting the ability to speed up and scale up renewable energy build-out are not addressed, Europe will lose its early adopter advantages and jeopardize a clean, secure future energy supply. This paper outlines how an expanded renewable energy sector within Europe will have a positive impact on energy security and reaffirms Siemens Gamesa’s commitment to renewable energy, including green hydrogen, as the backbone for a decarbonized and more secure European energy supply.