European Energy Security Essay

2861 words - 12 pages

The energy sector is one of the columns of growth, competitiveness and development in our modern economy, but just with safe, secure, sustainable and affordable energy, the well-being of the people, industry and economy can be ensure. Moreover, energy-related emissions account for almost 80% of the EU´s total greenhouse gas emissions which directly contribute to climate change.
Therefore, Europe is facing a serious energy security challenge in supporting its demand, at the same time that concerns over environmental sustainability and particularly about the global climate. The question is: how can we secure, produce and consume our energy resources in a sustainable way and ensuring that ...view middle of the document...

Therefore, contrary to what the prediction could be, increments in population did not mean higher values of energy consumption, as it can be noticed in the period 2006-2011.

This “anymore” direct relation of growth in population-growth in energy demand fits perfectly to the thoughts reflected in The Growth Illusion (1992) (3) made by the British economist Richard Douthwaite, which anticipated, as many others, the economic collapse after a path of economic growth and population growth, premised on the concept of the finite system. This fact has been used as a common reason to criticize neoclassical economists’ theories (4).

The conclusion that can be drawn is that the EU-27 energy market is suffering a noticeable uncertainty about the future demand as, mainly due to the economic crisis, the consumption is decreasing at some points. Nevertheless, what is clear is that Renewable Energies are gaining field in the market meanwhile consumption of Petroleum and Products and Solid Fuels are being noticeably reduced.

2.2 Energy Dependency

If there is a field where Europe is considerably vulnerable that is energy. More than the 50% of the energy we consume comes from abroad (5), but this number depends on several factors and influences economic and political issues. Although the statistics show that imports percentage increases over the years, between 2009 and 2010 overall energy import dependency in the EU fell slightly (1), due to falling import dependency registered in solid fuels and natural gas.
Falling import dependency can be explained in terms of both falling net imports as well as falling consumption at a time of economic recession. Nevertheless, it can be noticed that even if gross inland consumption rose in 2010 and continuously decreased in 2011, imports suffered the opposite evolution. So, although consumption decreased in 2011, imports of all fossil fuels increased in this year(1).

The majority of the EU Member States are highly dependent on imports of oil and gas. In 2010, there were a few Member States with significant production that made a considerable contribution to the EU energy balance. Denmark and the Netherlands were important net exporters of gas, while the United Kingdom and Romania were able to satisfy most of their needs through domestic production. Denmark was also a net exporter of crude oil and petroleum products, whereas the United Kingdom was close to being self-sufficient in oil and petroleum products (6).

About the exporting countries, in 2010 Russia was the main exporter of crude, natural gas and hard coal to the EU, while Norway was the second most important exporter of both crude oil and natural gas (Eurostat, 2011). Concerning natural gas, almost half of the EU’S gas consumption is being imported from only three countries: Russia, Norway and Algeria.

Security concerns come from the fact that some of the exporting countries pose a high risk of internal instability (north African countries),...

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