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.
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.
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.
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.
In this episode, we trace back the history of Darren’s involvement in energy. We learn the background story on energy justice and how he got involved in it while at Trinity College Dublin. He describes his earlier work with Gordan Walker and Harriet Bulkeley which prompted Darren to go further and explore the concept more with others by using a legal studies perspective.
There are three key takeaways from my discussion with Darren. First, Darren is just great to talk to. I met Darren back around 2012 or 2013 and as you’ll hear in our discussion, we share a passion for a holistic understanding of the energy system and how society sits at the center of it.
Second, Darren outlines the massive disruption of Covid-19 is a chance for policymakers to push faster on the green transition. And here we discuss the preliminary findings of Darren’s work on the UK, Netherlands, and South Africa. Where he is finding a compartmentalized perspective on the energy system and not a joined-up systems-wide approach where moving towards a sustainable energy system has knock-on effects for many corners of society and the environment.
And the final takeaway is, every researcher needs to get out of their comfort zone and travel. This is easy – or maybe hard to say – while we are locked-down, but we discuss how doing research in developing countries can begin to prompt change. We do take a light-hearted view of this topic, but Darren expresses well the serious desire to make a difference in other parts of the world as essential for anyone with a career in energy research.
This week we speak with Agata de Ru who is a Portfolio Manager of the South and Eastern European Region for the Clean Air Fund. In this episode, we take a different turn and go into Agata’s background of moving from a Polish NGO to Shell and then her decision to do an MBA in the United States. We learn about her experience working for a US energy start-up. We learn about her decision to leave the US behind and move to Nigeria and join up with local organizations and businesses working with farmers and delivering solar power to consumers across a number of countries.
Before we begin, I want to give a bit some background. Agata and I have known each other for ten years. We were part of the first batch of ELEEP members. This is the Emerging Leaders in Environmental and Energy Policy Network, which began as an initiative of the Atlantic Council and Ecologic and which was funded by the Robert Bosch Foundation and the European Commission. This was a great trans-Atlantic initiative as it really brought together a range of younger people who are still in contact today. Looking back, we can say all of them have built on their ELEEP initiative to shape their lives and careers. My point is these types of initiatives that bring people together in a loosely structured way really make a difference.
As we’ll learn from Agata, her work in Europe, the US and Africa built on her ELEEP experience. And it is here where we get to the point of the MyEnergy2050 podcast. We like to share both the knowledge and experience of people making a difference. Understanding how and why people make decisions in their lives to build a better energy system assists all of us in transforming the energy system.
My request to you this week is to help us spread the message of the MyEnergy2050 podcast. Please share this episode or others on LinkedIn or Twitter. We grow by word of mouth. And the longer we do this, our message is becoming clearer. It takes dedication of personal commitment to build and deliver a cleaner energy system. So let’s make this happen together.