Energie-Blog

André Jurres

7 jan 2007
420

Today the European Commission again gave a clear signal in the Dutch newspapers that Europe needs to speed up its strategy towards a common energy mission.
As example it is stated that all member states need to follow the recently approved law in the Netherlands to split up network and production from the same historical energy companies. 
Strange that this example is described as it has become clear that the law will not be carried out although it has been approved.  Without stating that I am against the content of the law it seems that we as a community should not write and approve laws that will not be carried out.  This gives a very negative signal towards the same community.  
It is clearly positive that the European Commission under the lead of Chairman Barroso and with the assistance of Commissioner Kroes wants to force the member states to increase competition to assure that the market receives the best conditions for energy and that enough investments are made to develop the use of our production methods.
Although the first part is clearly good to recommend and even urgent as most member states are lacking behind in introducing competition the Commission should be careful that opening markets has a negative short term effect on investments and R&D rather than it has a positive impact.  As most private companies in energy have shareholders that demand a good return opening markets puts pressure on the profitability and even more important makes it more difficult to predict the future.  Companies that can not predict a clear vision and strategy on their development will be punished on the stock exchange and by the financial sector as a whole.
Everybody starts to understand that our challenges are huge and that the import from Russia is not even the most important worry.  Of course we need to be sure that the next twenty years we get enough fossil fuels to generate electricity and heat our homes but what then?  The recently announced problems with our climate raise a more fundamental question, how are we going to generate enough energy without killing our environment?  This is probably the biggest question of the next two, three generations.
For this we can not just count on the market and “hope” things will come.  As the slow advancement of the next generation of nuclear fusion has shown we do not control the time it will take to find a source of energy big enough to cover the needs of 9 billion people(by 2050).  Besides the decision to built a new test site for nuclear fusion in the South of France we should create a clear focus on the big question, for this we need to concentrate all the knowledge we have in the world to one place just as we have done for example with the development of the first atomic bomb in the early 40’s. Maybe it sounds not realistic but I am convinced we will have to do a large effort across borders and continents to reach a solution in time.   We need to create an Energy master plan that will have to contain a road book towards the future Energy Valley and probably the creation of the largest budget we have ever created.