Thursday, 30 June 2011

Energy Dependency - As Big A Threat As Terrorism?

Yesterday was as hectic as they get. Sadly, a planned meeting with Prof Igor Jurgen's, advisor to President Medvedev, was delayed due to his being stuck in our wonderful Brussels traffic. I had another meeting to go to, and so I was unable to meet the man who famously declared that modernisation of Russia is “impossible under the supremacy of the Putin elite”’. I suspect we would have seen eye-to-eye on that one!

And so to the European Wind Energy Association in the company of the CEO of engineering giant 'Sarens', and a leading academic from the European Geopolitical Forum. The wind sector in the Ukraine is outgrowing its own infrastructure, and there is a need to develop the ability to export surplus wind generated energy. It was an interesting meeting. The Ukraine needs to end its dependency on Russia as much as we do.

Reliance on Russian energy is as big a threat to our security as is terrorism, I would argue. In August 2008 Russia demonstrated its willingness to use 'hard power' to enforce its supremecy in this area.

72 hours before the invasion of Georgia, a pumping staion in eastern Turkey was taken out by the PKK, a Moscow sponsored terrorist group. This was not widely reported in the west. Russian aircraft also bombed perilously close to Georgian  pipelines outside of the disputed areas of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Was this a dry run for an attack on western energy infrastructure?

Russia is also investing heavily in western nuclear programmes, in some cases, such as in Bulgaria, taking a controlling interest.

The much vaunted BTC pipeline is supposed to give the EU a certain amount of security of supply. The EU, however, quietly pretends not to notice the Russian naval bases at Tartus and Latakia, which face the receiving end of BTC...

Renewable energy is not just an environmental issue . it is about security of supply. Something we do not have at the moment.

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