Five big energy lessons from a year of Russia's war on Ukraine
Energy security matters
Before russia President putin launched the invasion of Ukraine, the notion of energy security – nations exercising maximum control over their own supplies – was mainly for PowerPoint slides at industry conferences.
That changed forever a year ago, when severing reliance on Putin’s gas shot to the top of the national agenda in – to name but one example – Germany, which within days had to rip up decades of energy policy based around Russian hydrocarbon supplies. Cue a frantic effort by Europe's largest economy to find new sources of gas – in which it has largely succeeded – and turbocharge its renewables build, where the jury is still out.
Renewables now win two ways not one
Wind and solar power were already leading the charge against climate change but are now in demand for more than their zero-carbon credentials. If energy security means controlling your own supplies, a nation’s renewable resources are mercifully beyond Putin’s control.
Policymakers CAN act fast and think big
After years of UN climate summits that have seen global decision makers move at snail’s pace, a dose of Russian military aggression has sent policymakers into overdrive. That’s particularly true in Europe, where by early March last year EU leaders had already assembled REPowerEU – an accelerated package of targets in renewables and green hydrogen designed to boost electrification and lessen reliance on imported gas.
Ukraine eyes post-war role as green hydrogen supplier
Ukraine plans to use its wind resource to become a green electricity and green hydrogen supplier across Europe once hostilities resulting from its war with Russia are over.
The strategy was highlighted in President Zelensky’s annual presidential address to the country’s parliament on 28 December, when he said that Ukraine would become a leader in “modern green energy”.
Through renewable and nuclear energy, as well as hydrogen, Ukraine will satisfy its own energy needs and also supply Europe, he added. “This will be a historic strengthening of Ukraine’s role in Europe. We can, and therefore must, become one of the guarantors of European energy security.”
Europe takes steps toward developing hydrogen pipeline network
russia's invasion of Ukraine has driven 25 countries to commit $73 billion in fresh lower-cost green hydrogen investments as record-breaking gas prices have made fossil-fuel-based hydrogen uneconomic.
Soaring gas prices have caused a jump in the levelized cost of fossil-produced hydrogen and favored the acceleration of investment plans in more clean and green hydrogen assets.
European energy experts have set an ambitious goal of reducing the amount of renewable hydrogen to 10 million tons of annual domestic production plus an additional 10 million tons of annual hydrogen imports. For this, REPowerEU proposes to create a Hydrogen Accelerator.
To achieve this goal - the production of 10 million tons of renewable hydrogen in the EU - electrolyzers with a capacity of 90-100 GW will be needed.
In the plans of many European countries, Ukraine appears as a potential partner in the production of green hydrogen.