Permalink| April 27 8:41am |
Donald Tusk of Poland, sadly, has 2 fatal flaws in his argument for a European Energy Union published in the Financial Times:
First, there is no sustainable extraction and use of fossil energies.
His equation of coal with energy security is logically wrong, myopic,
and reveals his strong bias. Measures Poland has taken to protect the
interests of her coal industry, such as keeping cheaper renewable power
from entering Poland by installing phase-shifters on the borders, are in
violation of the European single market.
Second, Donald Tusk fails to mention, and possibly does not understand,
the degree of integration already achieved by the European Union on
energy matters. The single-market and competition disciplines alone
would be sufficient to break the clauses in gas contracts that prohibit
the subsequent sale of gas to entities or regions without the consent of
the original supplier, Russia. Such clauses are anti-competitive, and
the matter could be cleared up under existing EU law.
Sadly, the good points of his argument are thus fully discredited, and
he has disqualified himself as a leader of Europe‘s search for stronger
cooperation over energy and the response to Russia's aggression.
There is a better way to proceed, one that can be started immediately,
as it does not require changes in EU policy and law, or the creation of a
new European institution: Understand that gas is important not so much
for the energy it carries but primarily for its versatility and
flexibility. Then, focus on linking the electricity and gas systems
more and make them more flexible through storage and economic incentives
in a smart grid. I have sketched it in my blog post "European Energy Policy after the Crimean Crisis: Focus on Flexibility" here: