Until now, the meetings of the EU energy ministers had to do with the skyrocketing of the electricity bill and the pressure from some countries, including Spain, to reform the electricity market. But the priorities have changed in a week, although there are two that are still present: the need for greater autonomy and less dependence on Russia, and that independence from fossil fuels goes through a commitment to renewable energies.
This Monday the EU energy ministers met again, but this time they did so under the pressure of a war in Europe, and on the soil of a country, Ukraine, through which a lot of gas came to the Union European. As explained by the European Commissioner for Energy and the French Minister for Energy, Barbara Pompili, whose country chairs the semester of the EU Council, Ukraine had started a test on the same day of the invasion by Russia, on Thursday, February 24 , to disconnect from the Russian network, go into standalone mode, and then reconnect.
"They successfully passed all the necessary steps until the last one, which was supposed to be the reconnection to the Russian power grid. But they decided that they will not end this test mode with the reconnection because they would be depending on the Russian side," Simson explained.
So if they don't reconnect on the Russian side, the challenge is to connect to the EU electricity system. "This is not a matter of hours, it's days or several weeks," Simson said.
"In terms of electricity," Pompili explained, "Ukraine is no longer connected to the Russian energy grid since last week and therefore there is a greater risk of blackouts. If we are going to establish a connection between Ukraine and the grid of the EU, there will be several technical challenges and they will need to be addressed by the electricity transmission regulator in the EU, as well as by the Commission and the Member States".
The French minister added: "The political will is clear. We have to help Ukraine. We have to take these measures. We have to weigh the risks, but also the need to connect Ukraine because they run the risk of a blackout, which would have very serious consequences."
"In this unprecedented context of military operations at the gates of the EU, we must act in three areas in the short term", said the French minister: "We must provide practical support to Ukraine, strengthen the resilience of the European energy system and manage future trends in energy prices. However, even if Russia stopped its exports, something that is not on the agenda at the moment, there would be no immediate risk to the security of supply in the European Union. On the other hand, it is more important than ever to accelerate the green transition to achieve our goals of energy independence and climate neutrality for Europe".
Barbara Pompili, French Minister for the Ecological Transition