Renewable energy is the sole option

Brewing Ukraine crisis has shown that in long run, ever growing anxiety over fuel in the EU can be solved only through renewable source. The reality is Europe is already on this mission with a goal for achieving 20 per cent share of energy need from renewable sources by 2020.

This 28-membe- nation club has reached 14.1 per cent so far. The Balkan crisis would surely enhance that pace. The war situation in west Asia and ceaseless civil war in Libya would too help ushering other nations into the path leading to greater use of renewable energy.

Russian gas export giant Gazprom supplies 162 billion cubic metres of gas to the EU and Turkey, of which 86 billion cubic metres goes through Ukraine. Now as Moscow has started exerting pressure through this gas route on beleaguered Ukraine, the EU finds itself caught between the devil and sea.

If Gazprom stops gas flow through this former soviet republic, central European nations including Germany and Poland would be badly hit. And as things stands now, both Russian backed rebel forces and west backed Ukraine forces are well set for long term war. 

Sensing this impending catastrophe, four EU member states have already sought the US gas to offset this crisis. Even if the US Congress allows this transaction, this measure would not be able to bring long term relief for the EU.  Therefore green is only logical option left for them.

With the United States renewing its intervention war in Iraq has entered a new phase with ominous signs of more chaos in the region and this time real victim could be the oil industry.

Till now rebel forces of Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham (Isis) has swept over western part of Iraq while the northern part of war ravaged nation is in firm control of Kurds.

But oil production of this oil rich Middle East nation has been somewhat successful in maintaining production level as over two third of oil production is still carried out in the Baghdad controlled southern part.

Nevertheless the oil export has already dipped southward as two terminals and three single point moorings in Basra Gulf are only outlets left for export for this second largest oil producer of OPEC. Naturally global oil price is again on the rise. Unrest in Libya is fuelling that northward journey further. It is now clear that renewable energy is the sole sustainable fuel source in the long run as each of the troika of oil, coal and nuclear is embedded with one problem or other.

According to statistics, use of renewable energy stood nearly 15 per cent in 2011 world energy map. It is estimated to have 34 per cent of total energy requirement being met from non-conventional sources in 2040. While use of renewable energy was mere 25 quadrillion btu in 1990 globally, it touched almost 70 quadrillion btu in 2013, with goal of reaching 120
quadrillion btu in 2040.

The example of Portugal is noteworthy here.  This west European industrial nation has procured 21 per cent of its energy need from renewable sources excluding big hydro projects  way back in 2009 and is now well set to reach its goal of 51 per cent in 2025.  

World could damn well emulate this Portuguese model.

The author is a senior journalist specialised in technology. All the views and opinions expressed in the article are solely his and not of Times of Oman.


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