Renewable energy corridors and European energy security
Finally, in order to end up this part devoted to the new strat egies for the EU’s energy secur ity pol icy and to close this book, this chapter focuses on renew able energy sources, one of the stra tegic bets of the EU’s energy pol icy, in combina tion with the two elements that have dominated this book: energy risk and energy corridors. During the last decade renew able energy sources have become an identity sign of the EU’s energy pol icy, as was seen in Chapter 10. Concerns about pollution and climate change have raised pub lic aware ness and placed envir on mental ob ject ives high on the Euro pean polit ical agenda. The pro mo tion of RES is one of the energy pol icy responses, together with other low carbon technologies – nuclear energy and carbon capture and storage – and energy efficiency meas ures, to address such pref er ences. The emphasis on RES made by the Euro pean Commission and some member states has helped to place the EU as a world leader in the sector. The Euro pean RES industry has positioned itself on the techno lo gical frontier, Euro pean utilities and grid oper ators are among the most ex peri enced in integrating renew able sources into the energy sys tem, and member states’ regu latory frameworks usually serve as inter na tional benchmarks. All these elements have resulted in increasing con tri bu tions from renew ables to the EU’s energy mix and the setting of more ambitious targets. However, while RES deployment is said to be mainly intended to attain envir on mental goals, it is also increasingly being praised on the grounds of its energy secur ity im plica tions. The latter have been highlighted mainly in recent years, coinciding with the overall deterioration perceived in Euro pean energy secur ity due to the combination of price increases, resource com peti tion and polit ically motiv ated interruptions. Interestingly, while the trade off between envir on mental goals – and the use of RES to achieve them – and com petit iveness has been widely ex plored (Awerbuch, 2000; Sensfuss et al., 2008), the relationship between energy secur ity and RES has received less attention, both at the concep tual and at the EU’s energy pol icy levels. This chapter offers a conceptual framework to ana lyse the inter actions between RES and energy secur ity. Beyond that, the inter actions between RES and energy secur ity are usually ana lysed in a national setting, not con sidering
the issues related to cross-border RES flows. The second section of the chapter tries to extend the ana lysis to the energy secur ity impact of deploying renew ables beyond the national bound ar ies. Finally, the chapter applies the conceptual framework displayed in the first two sections to the EU’s incoming renew able energy cor ridors, using as a case study the better pub licized initiative in this regard, the Mediterranean Solar Plan.