Gas, fracking, nuclear: Three energy sectors on Europe’s rethink list as war threatens Ukraine – by Eric Reguly (Globe and Mail – February 16, 2022)

In the fall, when Russia began deploying more than 100,000 troops to Ukrainian border areas, prices for all forms of energy, especially natural gas, rose – and kept rising. The painful energy bills triggered a reassessment of Europe’s energy policies.

How did Europe become so dependent on gas imports? Would the lights go out if Russia were to invade? Did Europe vastly overestimate the ability of green power to fill the energy gap? Was it a mistake to phase out nuclear and coal-fired plants?

These and other questions are gripping governments, utilities and energy consumers alike. While the chances of a full-blown invasion of Ukraine appear to have diminished a bit this week, with U.S. President Joe Biden saying there is still “plenty of room for diplomacy” to end the crisis, European energy markets will have to adapt to the new security and cost reality.

Here are three areas that should be revamped. The big question: When? Gas from Russia is a fact of life in Europe and has been for decades, with Russian imports generally accounting for a third of the total supply. Most of it is delivered through pipeline by Kremlin-controlled Gazprom.

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