THE coming months in Europe will most likely be catastrophic from an energy point of view due to skyrocketing prices. Energy is Putin's best weapon against the European Union, that has repeatedly sanctioned him and is providing financial and military support to Ukraine. Also responsible for the high price increase is the pricing design, which was aimed at encouraging the development and use of renewable energy. Without nuclear energy — a source of energy that only now, in the midst of the crisis, some European nations are considering producing again — Europeans decided to throw themselves into the arms of natural gas, which comes largely from Russia. It is more than foreseeable that the continuation of the current situation for a few more months will have terrible consequences for productivity and the welfare system of which Europeans are so proud.
In other words, the economic damage that European nations are suffering right now is a direct consequence of their dependence on Russia. Putin is in control of the situation and must be seeking not only a lifting of sanctions, but a reestablishment of relations with his European partners from scratch.
Germany, despite the many energy-saving efforts it is carrying out right now, is not going to have enough power to get through the very cold winter if Russia decides to cut off its gas supply. In this context, to alleviate the serious situation, Scholz has requested the construction of a gas pipeline linking Portugal and Spain with Germany through France, given that the Iberian peninsula is well supplied with re-gasification plants and its largest gas supplier is not Russia, but Algeria. France is totally opposed to the construction of such a pipeline with rather clumsy excuses: first, that the pipeline would take too long to build; second, that it is expensive; and third, that it contradicts the vaunted energy transition plans approved by the EU which foresees the utopian and unattainable goal of having no emissions by the year 2050. It goes without saying that the real reason for France opposing it is not any of the aforementioned, but because it is a leading producer of nuclear energy that exports to its neighbors (Spain, for example, very wisely decided to shut down its nuclear plants and just buy energy from the French nuclear plants). The construction of the gas pipeline would make the Iberian peninsula a gas distribution node from Africa to the rest of Europe. Algeria, in this situation, could replace Russia as the largest supplier of gas to the European Union. Algeria, likewise, could in the future pump the gas that comes from Nigeria to Europe. Given the current opposition, Spain has decided in the short term to transport the gas by ship to ports in northern Italy. Russia must be celebrating Macron's position: anything that smacks of disunity in the misnamed European Union is logically welcome in Russia.
Energy production has a lot of intricacies that are rarely commented on in the news. Without being an expert on the matter, I will try to explain it with simple words. The problem with electricity generation is that it has to be consumed instantly, since there are still no systems capable of storing large amounts of energy (there might be in the future, but not now). For this reason, it is necessary to predict the energy that an entire country will consume. These predictive calculations are made the day before and are based on very complex statistical profiles. Among other indicators are employment, weather and economic activity. This task is becoming more and more complicated since the penetration of renewable generation sources is growing and their production is less constant (this is why renewable energy is not reliable: it depends on unpredictable weather conditions and as mentioned before, energy is not capable of being stored in large amounts). Since the European electricity market chooses multiple energy packages at different prices, but all generating companies must charge the same for the price of electricity, nonsense appears. In the end, the price of electricity is established by the last offer that enters the energy auction and that closes the demand of the marketers. In other words, the last most expensive offer is the one that ends up being established as the price to pay for electricity. And since the price of gas is so high right now, renewable energy companies and nuclear power companies — and here France is the leader — are making huge profits.
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