High energy costs are forcing factories across Europe to stop production

Europe's Energy Shortage



The rising cost of energy is forcing factories throughout Europe to close. The European industrial production experienced its largest drop in July in over two years. The situation is in crisis. Governments across Europe have earmarked nearly 500 billion euros to help meet the rising costs of energy. Germany is a prime example. Germany has declared its utility company nationalized Uniper to try to control costs.



Europe's energy security crisis



The security of energy in Europe is a major issue that impacts the entire continent. The energy security crisis of the continent is a major issue despite its abundant natural gas, coal and uranium reserves. It is dependent on foreign energy sources to supply its energy requirements. Additionally, anti-nuclear and anti-fossil fuel policies have stifled European energy production.


There are a myriad of options to address Europe's security in energy problem. One option is to create market conditions that support the production of energy. This is a better solution than taxing the profits of energy companies. Europe is currently undergoing the major overhaul of the energy market. Although it's not the first option in the list in the near future, it's currently the most efficient way to lower energy costs and increase energy security.


The European Union will need to confront the deep disagreements among members over nuclear energy. Nuclear power could help reduce reliance on Russian energy sources and aid the European Union meet its climate goals. Although the German government has reiterated its anti-nuclear position, many within Central and Eastern Europe disagree. The United States could also regain some market share lost by Rosatom due to its anti-nuclear energy position.



Problems arising from its dependence on Russian fossil fuels



Germany has recently halted a controversial gas pipeline project that was supposed to increase Russian gas deliveries to Germany. This isn't changing the fact that Europe is still heavily dependent on Russian oil. However, the European Union is making plans to be more self-sufficient in this area. Next week, the European Commission is expected to make public its plans to become energy independent.


The EU must diversify its energy portfolio, and eliminate Russian natural gas. The EU's energy policy is modern and international-minded as opposed to that of the United States and other major powers, who are typically constrained by national sentiment. Its policies are consistent with global climate change and the need for gradual transition from hydrocarbons to renewable sources of energy.


While Russia as well as the EU have a common cost for energy but the European Union is still reliant on Russian energy for the majority of its requirements. The majority of Russian gas is delivered to Eastern Europe via Soviet-era pipelines. Even though Moscow is looking to build new pipelines, it can only provide just a tiny portion of the energy consumed in Europe.



Solutions to the Crisis



There are many possible solutions to Europe's power shortage. The government has taken a variety of approaches to tackle the issue, which range from offering fuel subsidies and the reduction of consumption taxes, or passing on higher wholesale prices for industry. The solutions will not succeed without the participation of businesses. While untargeted help may be politically expedient, it risks undoing the incentives that consumers receive to save energy.


The first step in resolving the energy shortage in Europe is identifying what is causing the problem. The most difficult part is that the EU isn't yet confronting the causes behind the problem. European officials blame Russia who has been blocking gas pipelines. The continent has been hit by price hikes for electricity and severe gas shortages as a consequence. To make up for this numerous countries have increased their use of fuel oil and coal.


Another alternative is to look into diversifying natural gas source. The majority of natural gaz imported from Russia is utilized by European countries. The cost of natural gas has increased tenfold since 2000. The demand for gas is flexible therefore an increase in gas supply isn't likely to result in a drop in consumer demand.


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