The energy squeeze in Europe has nothing to do with the continent's energy transition plans, the head of the International Energy Agency Fatih Birol told the European Parliament's energy and environment committees.
"It is inaccurate and unfair to explain these high energy prices as a result of clean energy transition policies. This is wrong," Birol said, as quoted by Reuters. Further, he added that EU governments needed to keep their eyes on reducing global warming, even when times are volatile, referring to the sky-high gas prices in Europe.
The official did not miss the chance to take a stab at Russia, either, saying, "Some major suppliers are reluctant to send additional gas in these difficult days to Europe and elsewhere, even though in my view it was an opportunity to underscore that they are a reliable supplier," echoing his own earlier remarks that urged Russia to send additional gas volumes to Europe.
Gazprom has insisted that it has fulfilled its contractual obligations to European clients, and no one in Europe is disputing that. However, questions are being asked about Gazprom supplying less gas on the spot market and into its own storage facilities across Europe, which the state giant has explained with the prioritization of filling up its domestic storage.
Meanwhile, European utilities are stocking up on coal in anticipation of lower renewable energy output volumes during the winter, Bloomberg reported, citing Citigroup commodity analysts.
"A tight gas market should continue to pull EUA [EU carbon emission permits] prices higher," Citigroup analysts led by Edward Morse said. "Furthermore, coal use in Europe is expected to increase through winter, on lower renewables power generation and planned closures of some nuclear power generation capacity."
What's more, Spain has warned the European Union that its energy transition plans may not survive the test of sky-high electricity prices. In a letter, Spain said the EU's efforts to keep emissions in check "may not stand a sustained period of abusive electricity prices."
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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