Europe is lurching through an energy crisis that in many respects parallels its seemingly unending economic crisis. Across Europe, consumer groups, governments and manufacturers are asking how their future energy needs can be met affordably and responsibly.
It is a question that is far more acute than in the United States, where the shale gas revolution has done wonders to ease energy angst. “Europeans are getting increasingly concerned about energy,” said Corin Taylor, an analyst at the Institute of Directors, a British business group. “Manufacturers are looking at U.S. energy prices with envy, and if they can, they are making investments in North America.”
European countries have yet to demonstrate that they can or in some cases even want to exploit their own potential shale gas troves. At the same time, most of Europe’s indigenous sources of oil and natural gas are in decline, making increased dependence on imports almost inevitable.
Direct charges for renewables add about 18 percent to German household electric bills, with indirect costs putting on more.
In Britain, climate charges add 19 percent to the electricity prices that large manufacturers pay, according to Jeremy Nicholson, director of the Energy Intensive Users Group, which represents heavy industry. That helps make industrial processes that are heavy users of electricity, like aluminum smelting or steel making, endangered species in Britain.
Europe’s energy policies were conceived in a very different era, the early to mid-2000s and even before, when economic growth was robust and there seemed to be lots of leeway to add a few euros onto the cost of electricity, if that might help combat climate change.
Masterresource had an analysis of Germany’s energy situation Germany’s Unaffordable Wind Power ($0.07/kWh surcharge for $0.20/kWh)