A spectre is haunting Europe and it is not that of communism as Marx wrote in the Manifest. It is that of high energy prices and shortages. Mundane, I know. But also kind of urgent.
So, how do we deal with? The EU Commission recently published the ‘Save Gas for a Safe Winter‘ proposal. It stresses the importance of the 15% reduction in gas demand and mainly takes into consideration the reactions and disagreements of southerners.
In addition, EU leaders have already tasked the Commission with reforming the failing European Electricity Market.
The Greeks, however, went to Brussels bearing gifts in the form of a proposal and a letter that focus on the division of electricity markets. Renewables (RES) and nuclear on one side, fossil fuels on the other.
The letter, sent to the President of the EU Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, by the Prime Minister of Greece, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, explains the Greek intentions.
“I am writing to you with a proposal to enhance our energy security for this coming winter and, at the same time, reduce natural gas and electricity prices,” writes Mitsotakis.
It is true that winter is coming fast and, according to the Commission’s estimates, if Russia completely cuts off gas flows the European Union would be short 45 billion cubic meters (bcm).
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The benefits, however, according to the Greek Prime Minister, would be significant.
“The economic gains for our economies and trade balances from lower gas and electricity prices would most probably offset any outlays that this program would require,” he wrote.
The majority of EU leaders and the Commission received the proposal in a reluctant, yet positive way. France, Italy and Spain – the countries which, together with Greece, opposed the 15% gas reduction – openly supported the proposal in one way or another.
Experts in the sector, however, contested the whole idea. Many of them fear that, if implemented, this proposal would destroy the electricity market model the entire sector has been working on for the past quarter of a century.
But then again, maybe the EU energy market does need a revamp. In any case, I find it very refreshing when countries from the European south take such initiatives.
Don’t you agree?
Editor, Smart Energy International