The net effect of the first policy, obvious in the last few weeks, has been to force European consumers and businesses to pay much more to heat and power their homes and run their businesses. That results from the intermittent nature of wind and solar: when the wind doesn ’ t blow and the sun doesn ’ t shine, the electricity grid needs backup. That comes from natural gas or coal, though coal, along with nuclear power, is increasingly being phased out. Needing backup means Europeans pay twice for power.
Now combine the coal and nuclear phaseouts with Europe ’ s political and policy disdain for local exploration for oil and natural gas, such as in 2017 when France proudly banned future exploration for oil and fracking for gas both at home and in its overseas territories. Then add parallel attempts to label Canadian oil as dirty and thus discourage future Canadian exports to Europe. The result is that the European demand for energy has hit limited supply, causing energy prices to soar.
Now add in the other development: a Europe becoming more dependent on oil and natural gas from regimes hostile to European values, including Europe ’ s postwar practice of open societies, liberal democratic norms and tolerance. The best-known example of growing dependence on autocrats is the near-completed Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which will bring Russian natural gas to Germany and other parts of Europe. Initially, some European and American politicians opposed the pipeline, fearing it would make the continent more dependent on Russian whims, including the use of energy as a geopolitical weapon.
I’d think after the Ukraine debacle a few years back, they should fully expect it.