In the year since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the United States and its allies in the European Union have taken steps towards energy independence, but much remains to be done. Dr. Anna Mikulska, a fellow in energy studies at the Baker Institute for Public Policy at Rice University, testified at a Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources hearing that a responsible and sustainable energy policy is still not in place. This is reflected in high electricity and coal prices, as well as a lack of financial support for the development of necessary infrastructure.
The Department of Energy (DOE) has been working to help Ukraine build connections with the EU’s energy grid and strengthen the country’s own energy-exporting networks. The DOE has also been providing Ukraine with the necessary equipment to transition to an independent energy system, and is collaborating with the International Atomic Energy Agency to protect Ukraine’s nuclear power infrastructure. President Joe Biden has taken action to ensure a surge of liquefied natural gas and pipeline gas is available to Europe.
The European Commission’s REPowerEU program was created to reduce dependence on Russia’s fossil fuels and shift towards renewable energy sources. U.S. imports of liquefied natural gas to the EU have increased significantly, making America the biggest supplier of LNG to Europe. The EU has also decreased gas demand by 20 percent and implemented a focus on renewable energy.
Mismanagement of energy supplies is linked to the reliance on Russian resources. To avoid a similar crisis in the future, Europe must ensure its energy security by having availability, accessibility, affordability, and acceptability of supply. Infrastructure is necessary to access LNG supplies traded on the global market, and global supply of LNG will not expand much over the next two to three years. This could lead to European countries competing aggressively with other LNG-importing nations, and wholesale natural gas prices in Europe hitting $90 per British thermal unit (BTU).