The conflict between Russia and Ukraine in 2022 resulted in a severe geopolitical and energy crisis, placing energy security at the center stage of the debate. The context was exacerbated by the relevance of Russia as a major supplier of oil, refined products, and gas. Until 2021, Russia was the largest exporter of natural gas at about 250 bn m3/year and represented 32% of the European Union (EU)’s natural gas supply .
Three aspects were considered critical by decision makers when developing short- and medium-term actions to address the current energy crisis. These are related to supply, demand, and infrastructure. Governments are reassessing their sources of energy supply, considering not only commercial aspects but also democratic values of potential suppliers. At the same time, infrastructure bottlenecks reinforced the relevance of long-term energy planning.
In this context, energy transition was not left behind. Energy experts and decision makers emphasized that lasting solutions to the current crisis lie in the rapid deployment of renewables and low-emission technologies. Policy action in the form of RePowerEU in the European Union and the Inflation Reduction Act in the US aimed to accelerate the roll-out of renewable energy, tackle climate change and reduce costs.
However, geographically concentrated value chains of critical minerals and the variability of renewable power generation emerge as new challenges associated with energy security in a context of energy transition. Processing and refining sites for the most relevant critical minerals (87% for rare earths ) and low-carbon technology equipment (70% for solar panels ) are mainly concentrated in China. Even if geopolitical challenges are addressed, the implications of renewables’ intermittence to energy security remain to be tackled. Some solutions already exist and need to scale, such as batteries and hybrid systems.
In its newest paper, Catavento analyzes the causes of the energy crisis in 2022, the actions taken to tackle it, and its impacts – both positive and negative – on the efforts of the energy transition in face of climate change.
Download the paper here.
 IEA. Frequently Asked Questions on Energy Security. 2022
 IEA. The Role of Critical Minerals in Clean Energy Transitions. 2021
 CSIS. The Geopolitics of Critical Minerals Supply Chains. 2021
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