Currently Europe’s focus is on the horror unfolding in Ukraine, with rapid aid having to be sent to those in need and tackling the refugee crisis, they have little time to be thinking about the effects this war will have on Europe in the long-term.
The crisis in Ukraine is going to have huge implications on both energy and food security in Europe and the middle east, with Russia being one of the largest oil and gas exporters in the world.
While the broader Black Sea region is one of the world’s key food producers.
With Ireland being one of the most food-secure countries in the world, we have little to worry about in terms of food security.
However, we are one of the most energy-insecure countries in Europe and with the current state of the world with what is happening between Ukraine and Russia, we should be worried.
Even though we do not import natural gas directly from Russia, we will still be affected by the mere size and influence that the country has, leading to major effects of the cost of Irish consumers paying household energy bills.
These high prices are signalling us to all wean ourselves off depending on fossil fuels. However, this is not a quick fix and could take years to achieve.
The Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, Eamon Ryan, has previously discussed Ireland’s renewable wind resources but concludes with poorly planned and short-sighted energy policies.
We will still need natural gas to fill the gap on days when the wind doesn’t blow our windmills and the sun doesn’t shine on our solar panels.
Wind industry officials warned the government that planning delays and high development costs is a huge hurdle the industry.
Currently Russia supplies up to 40% of the gas that Europe uses and while there is a growing worldwide market for gas producers, the supply is limited.
The Irish government needs to address our energy security plan, while introducing a plan to deliver renewable energy projects that our country can achieve.
Image Credit: Aoife Breslin