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⚡ "Escape from Russia: Rewiring Europe"

Redefining Energy

Photo by Bernard Hermant / Unsplash

Table of Contents

Hosts: Gerard Reid & Laurent Segalen
Category: ⚡ Renewable Energy

Podcast’s Essential Bites:

[1:24] GR: “Back [in] the 70s [oil crisis], what we actually decided to do was two things. We went into energy efficiency, and we went into nuclear in a big way. And I can see something similar happening now. It's that big. In fact, I actually even think it's bigger because actually, what you have to add on to it is decarbonisation. So you've got two motivations now: energy security and decarbonisation.

[1:58] GR: “The Green party is in power in Germany. They're going to have to make short term decisions, which may actually increase emissions rather than decrease. We're going to have to make compromises. And I think that's a really good thing because one of the things that has been frustrating me in the whole decarbonisation area is the sort of radical views of a lot of the NGO communities in and around decarbonisation.”

[2:32] LS: “The energy trifecta is very simple. You've got green, you’ve got cheap, and you’ve got secure. And you can have probably two out of the three at the same time. So the fossil fuel guys say, […] it's cheap, and it's secure, but it's not green. The green say, […] it's green, and it's cheap, but it's not secure. And now we're going to need to move to green and secure and probably is not going to be cheap.

[3:26] GR: “The rumor has always been […] that Gazprom’s lobbying budget in Germany alone spend 100 million a year. […] There's going to be a big change in and around that.”

[4:06] GR: “What do we think the EU should do? […] The first thing is really simple. Fill up all storage tanks. It's gas, it's cold, it's oil, make sure you're pumped hydro, the waters off the top of the mountains. You need to have storage. That's the critical thing.”

[4:49] GR: “Germany is meant to be getting out of its coal plants by 2030. […] I don't think that's going to happen now. I think what's going to happen is that they're going to leave these coal plants in reserves. Because if you have them in reserves […] you can put them on when you need them. […] The other thing I would say is, I wouldn't be surprised if Germany doesn't close its nuclear plants this year. And I think actually, that's a must. Because if we were to really look at what's been going on the power markets the last few years, we've got 1/3 of the French nuclear fleet out, you've got Germany just after coal, closing a pile of nuclear plants.”

[9:36] GR: “The phrase that came to my mind overnight as I was reflecting on this was Rewiring Europe. That's the program that we need to launch across the continent. […] And that means putting in place the system is to enable the deep electrification of our energy system. […] For me, it's not a technology question. What it is is a radical reregulation of the electricity system. […] It's just impossible anywhere in Europe to build a grid where it's transmission or distribution. It's also very difficult to build renewable infrastructure in large parts of Europe. And we've also got, I would say, incentive failings in the market when it comes to renewables. And you've also got misalignments in terms of the incentives in and around grid, which means that electricity is pretty expensive. […] So the key thing for me is, how do you make electrification, lower costs, and that requires […] radical rethinking of how we regulate the markets.”

[13:38] LS: “You cannot ask governments to do everything, to throw money at energy poverty, to throw money at new nuclear plants […]. You need to mobilize the investors in financial markets around that goal and provide the necessary mechanism by which investors want to invest in batteries, by which investors want to invest in new transmission. Because the capital is there and this probably 100 times more capital in the private market than in the government's pocket. So the government has to be an enabler, but not throw money it doesn't have or we need to print.”

[17:58] GR: “The thing about gas, which we also have to realize is that we've seen peak gas demand in Europe. And if I look going forward in this crisis […] we need to cut demand even quicker for natural gas. And the question is, how do you do that? […] What if you begin to pay customers not to use gas? […] Don't subsidize them to go do something else. Say, we’re gonna pay you not to use gas.”

Rating: ⚡⚡⚡⚡

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🕰️ 23 min | 🗓️ 03/01/2022
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