US, EU officials tout renewable, LNG collaboration after Gazprom action
Top US and EU officials April 27 reinforced their intent to work collaboratively to ensure alternatives to Russian energy supplies, after Gazprom’s decision to suspend natural gas deliveries to Poland and Bulgaria sent gas prices higher in Europe.
EU Commissioner for Energy Kadri Simson spoke alongside US Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm following a US-EU Energy Council High-Level Business Forum in Atlantic City, New Jersey, focused on offshore wind energy.
In that context, both described renewable energy and collaboration on offshore wind as an important component of the steps to move away from dependency on Russia, as well as from fossil fuels over the longer term.
The Biden administration has set a goal of getting 30 GW of offshore wind in the US by 2030, and Granholm said the crisis in Europe “only signals to both the EU and the US that we must accelerate.”
Granholm also noted the efforts to supply an additional 15 Bcm of US LNG to Europe in 2022 and 50 Bcm out to 2030. She highlighted DOE’s April 27 approval of added export authorizations for Golden Pass LNG and Magnolia LNG. While acknowledging one project was still under construction and the other has not yet begun construction, Granholm said the approvals nonetheless carried an important message.
“We want to signal that we want to partner and make sure that our restriction in the United States of permitting for non-free trade agreement entities like the EU is not a barrier,” Granholm said.
Part of the strategy is “making sure that we are able to allow those who intend to produce [to] have the freedom to be able to ship to Europe,” she said.
According to Granholm, the high-level business forum and wider international partnership arrived at a critical moment.
“Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine has shown us that the world cannot depend on petro dictators, on autocrats for our energy needs,” and that supply chain instability also shows “we cannot afford the exposure to volatile price swings in fossil energy markets,” she said.
Signs of ‘solidarity’
Simson praised the efforts to extend the collaboration to renewable technologies and offshore wind, following prior business-to-business meetings in 2019 focused on LNG in Brussels that had played an important part in establishing contacts between American and European companies in that sector.
In light of Gazprom’s April 27 action specifically, Simson highlighted cooperation shown among US member states. During a gas coordination group meeting that day, she said other member states “expressed their strong solidarity” and provided information on alternative supplies after Ukraine, Poland and Bulgaria explained their situations.
“We are advising clearly our companies to keep their existing contracts and not to agree on this instrument of blackmail that unilaterally the agreements that were assigned in Euros and dollars could be changed” to require payment in rubles, according to Simson.
The commission and member states have been preparing for many months for a disruption from Russian and reinforcing the resilience of the energy system, she said.
“Our energy system is designed to ensure reverse gas flows when needed and solidarity between member states, so we are ready, and we will manage,” Simson said.