As the shaky ceasefire in Ukraine is pierced by explosions, which will be blamed on both sides, it’s safe to say that Europe probably hasn’t faced such danger since the end of the Cold War. Russia continues to deny that their troops are on Ukrainian territory, although the whole world knows they’re lying. Ukraine is desperately trying to keep their country in one piece. But all this is happening on the other side of Europe, so why should this matter to us? We’re an island nation after all. Well, apart from a moral sense of duty, it’s natural resources that is of concern for most of Europe.
A lot of the continent’s gas is supplied by Russia, through pipelines which run through Ukraine. Russia has already stopped gas supplies to Ukraine, and before long they’re going to have to come up with a solution to that problem. But worryingly, Russia has hinted that should the EU continue with sanctions, they will respond with their own sanctions, one of which could be the turning off of the gas supplies through Ukraine. That would be bad news for everyone.
Are Russia likely to resort to such tactics? Perhaps not. But we have to wonder if at some point in the future, with a ton of sanctions in place from Europe, Russia may decide that they have nothing to gain from Europe and cut ties altogether. Then they might decide that they don’t need to send us their gas. Add to that an enormous $400BN gas deal recently signed with China, Russia has safeguarded vast revenues from their neighbours. Would they really need Europe’s business after cementing ties with the Chinese economy?
Foreign imported power is the lifeblood of a lot sectors in the UK. It is geopolitical problems such as the Ukraine crisis which highlight the need for the UK to become less reliant on imported energy and to increase homegrown energy, including renewable options too.
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Power is big business. Without power, you wouldn’t be reading this right now. Your CNC machines wouldn’t help produce your windows. We wouldn’t even have Twitter! So to be so reliant on imported power seems crazy to me.
For example, it is cheaper to import coal from far away places rather than to mine it out of the ground here. How can that be? It has ruined that sector and we now rely on importing coal. Gas as we know we import too. Even some of our own nuclear power stations are now owned by the French. This is too risky in my opinion.
We need to be relying on our own power. If the world goes to the wall and things start to look a bit grim, we need to know that we’ll be able to hold our own in a time of crisis. The stupid thing is, the National Grid is warning that should we have a cold winter again, the UK might face power cuts due to lack of stations and demand outstripping it!
We have to invest in UK energy. That means investing across all areas and really making the most out of the renewable sector. Oil and gas won’t last forever, and if militant countries decide they don’t want to give their resources to us anymore, we need a plan B.
That’s why this Ukraine crisis matters.
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