As the growing European energy crisis threatens a chilling winter, experts point toward renewable energy as the solution.
The outbreak of war in Ukraine has halted the flow of Russia’s natural gas to the rest of Europe, leaving many countries scrambling for ways to heat their nation’s homes. Everything from steel companies to street lighting and transportation will be affected, so the evaluation of European dependence on fossil fuels is critical.
There is significant hope for a cleaner and more reliable future with sustainable, renewable energy implementation as soon as possible.
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A simple breakdown of the European energy crisis
Europe uses natural gas as its main source of heating and gas for its electricity. Still, with the Russian war, the prices of these resources have seen incredibly high inflation. Russia is also stopping supplies from reaching countries that support Ukraine.
With prices ever rising, many companies are even considering halting the production of glass and steel, which use large amounts of energy to run.
In Italy, 40% of gas was imported from Russia before the war. Now, Italians are restricting their central heating this winter, with one hour per day required to be heat-free. While hospitals will remain at the same level of energy usage, Italians must commit to these changes as gas supplies dwindle, and prices rise ever higher.
France is also conserving energy in a big way due to the crisis. Their specific instructions on indoor temperatures, 19 degrees Celsius for living spaces and 19 degrees for bedrooms, attempt to conserve gas usage. The effort extends to household appliances like computers, washing machines, and dishwashers.
On the other hand, Germany is doing it alone and attempting to shield its consumers from high energy prices. Other European leaders worry that this will worsen inflation and divide European alliances.
Where does European energy go from here?
With a shortage of gas and growing anxiety for the chilling winter ahead, officials need a long-term solution. Though conserving heat will help this year, what about the following ones? The current effort is unsustainable for future generations and families to come.
European citizens are in the current crisis amid inflated prices due to an overdependence on fossil fuels. Some officials are looking for temporary fixes, like drilling for oil in the North Sea or opening new pipelines to replace the Russian absence, but fossil fuels are a dangerous route to continue. Severe ecological effects and finite resource levels promise that humans will face these same and worsened problems in the future.
Renewables might be the way to go. Most people have a generally good position on renewable resources like solar and wind power. But rarely do they implement them into their own lives. This is the same for many European officials. They understand how renewable energy can benefit their people, but action continually halts due to bureaucratic inefficiency.
The promise of a renewable future
Using renewable energy is the primary solution for the European energy crisis. By fazing out fossil fuels for options like solar and wind power, Europe can invite a more stable industry that can support humanity for decades to come.
Solar energy production
Solar power can impact the civilian, commercial and governmental sectors. In crowded cities or rural areas, solar panels require no additional space to install, with most solar panels able to line the roofs of buildings. Once installed, they start soaking up sunlight and transforming it into electricity to flow through the home.
Better yet, solar energy does not release carbon emissions or air or water pollution that damages ecosystems in the surrounding areas. Cleaner air for people and animals is always a critical need since the industrial revolution, and now is the time to give back to the earth by using the resources the sun provides.
Furthermore, a European push for solar power creates more jobs. You need people to install, manufacture, or maintain the panels. Renewable energy means cleaner air, more jobs, and a better future.
Wind energy production
Wind power is also a popular idea that could solve the energy crisis. Using large wind turbines, the force of the moving air creates electricity to power infrastructure.
However, some people criticize possible dangers or barriers to this avenue. Birds and bats are often killed in these giant structures. Some companies do not properly dispose of old blades creating more waste.
Not all wind energy stems from turbines, though. New drone technology flies in circles to create electricity, and a bladeless turbine vibrates in tune with the wind. Their options are safer for local wildlife and do not have massive blades that quickly deteriorate.
Finally, Europe needs to implement a better energy infrastructure with renewable energy in mind. Providing clear roles to authority figures to work with businesses and contractors to phase out fossil fuels is vital, as well as digitalizing paperwork and communication so that the negotiations are more efficient.
Acknowledging that there is a crisis is a great first step, but now the deep work begins to improve the state of living in Europe.
The future of European energy
The European Union is facing a winter of low heat and a faltering energy infrastructure because it relies on fossil fuels. Of course, they are not alone in their usage of these nonrenewable resources, but they do have the power to educate and communicate with their citizens to create a clean, reliable future.
Hopefully, these nations will consider implementing solar or wind power into their new plans so that next year families across the continent can cozy up inside their homes without worries of depletion and ecological damage. Not only will the people of today thank these officials, but all future generations.