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Battling Cyber Threats Against Energy Infrastructure – Ion Iftimie

In this episode, we explore how energy infrastructure is not designed nor protected against cyber threats, there is now a realization of the importance of securing our energy system. Cyber threats can directly impact the militaries and the nation’s ability to respond to physical threats against countries or armies.

We also discuss how even phishing scams can lead to compromising networks and impact infrastructure, institutions and countries. We have an extensive discussion around the alliance of NATO and why acting through NATO provides collective benefits. China and Russia are also framed not as immediate threats, but as potential future adversaries, and how the constant foreign probing of computer systems needs to be stopped.

The big takeaway from our discussion was the difference between virtual and physical threats. And how these are accomplished. It would seem a cyber threat could be carried out by a small group of people. But as Ion explains this is not really true as a tremendous amount of knowledge in fields like engineering are necessary to bring down a network. We also get into this scary area of where the boundaries are in cyberspace. These are not defined and there is a threat of countries stumbling into war.

Finally, the biggest takeaway is the cost that is needed to reform and refined the energy infrastructure. It seems like money is in short supply. So beating back these adversaries remains a challenge. 

Making Romania Fit for 55 — Radu Dudau

potential to build a strong renewable energy portfolio with a good natural environment in the Danube Delta and investor interests.  The European Commission wants to push the country towards 40% of renewables in the next few years. In short, Romania holds the potential to shift away from coal and embrace renewables.

The Seeds for an Energy Research Revolution – Benjamin Sovacool

Benjamin Sovacool talks about how he didn’t want to get involved in energy, but Professor Richard hearse kidnapped him into the field, but only after Benjamin’s car was broken into and all of his research stolen. He also goes into detail about the benefits and challenges of scholarly multidisciplinary collaboration and ongoing training for researchers.

Stable or crisis prone? Global Natural gas markets – Akos Losz

This week we speak to Akos Losz, an Energy Analyst, in the  InternationalEnergy Agency Division of Gas, Coal and Power Markets. Akos is also a non-resident fellow at the Center on Global Energy Policy. 

In this week’s episode, we cover the release of the October issue of The Global Gas Security Review 2020 which has an extraordinary analysis of the Covid-19 impact on the regional and global gas markets. We learn how Ukraine has switched from storing Russian gas to now storing extra EU gas. The impact from the social and economic lock-downs transformed the gas markets and heavily impacted both pipeline and LNG gas shipments. The sector was already weakening going into 2020 and the last six months mark a new era in the turbulent history of the gas sector.  

 As Akos and I discuss, gas is contractually more independent from other fossil fuels now. It is no longer index to the price of oil or serving just as a replacement for coal. With both larger gas infrastructure projects coming online and the maturity of markets and contracts, gas is seeing a new age. Towards the end of the interview, we delve into the future of biogas and hydrogen. Here we take a look at what is gas and both the short-term and long-term prospects of a more environmentally friendly gas sector. Well, if this is possible.  

My short take away from this interview with Akos is that the natural gas market has fundamentally changed over the past ten years. The importance of listening to this interview is to understand both the strong position gas holds in the energy system, but also its precarious position due to market forces. In addition, there is an underlining tension around the role of gas in the future. We just briefly discussed the concept of a ‘gas bridge’, gas as a transition fuel. And we learn how and why the EU is the world’s ‘market of last resort’ for gas. Hint, it has to do with ample capacity to receive gas and the open market concept. 

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