War & Peace – Energy Transition

As an old saying, often attributed to President Dwight Eisenhower, goes, “If a problem cannot be solved, enlarge it.”

The current energy transition toward cleaner and less extraction intensive model has created much anxiety and instability in the worlds most industrialized economies, particularly in the West.

Renewable energy sources have seemed as central to climate action, and with existing technologies can only be a part of the Energy Mix as they have minimal energy density.

All energy transition models of the past, from wood to coal to oil to Gas, were from a less energy density fuel to a higher one. The energy mix will require a substantial percentage of baseload Energy – coal, oil, natural gas and hydro, and we should never forget nuclear which up to now stayed mostly out of the mainstream conversation because of “fear” and bad public relations.

There has been a hypothesis that renewables enhance international peace. This idea is discussed in the International Political Economy (IPE) of renewables literature. Researchers have tested hypotheses about the pacifying effects of renewables. Empirical tests using a longitudinal dataset on global renewable energy investment have not found consistent evidence supporting the three key assumptions of Energy Democracy (a low-carbon world with more democratic states sees less interstate tension, Capitalist Peace Theorem (deploying renewables leads to economic development, which reduces conflict), and Human Security Literature (renewables reduce local-level vulnerabilities, enhancing social stability and reducing violence)

Understanding the impact of unmanaged energy transitions on the global economy is crucial in relation to peace and conflict dynamics.

The ongoing war in Ukraine and the political instability in Africa and parts of Latin America highlight the struggle for minerals and metals required for renewable energy technologies. Nations pursuing net-zero strategies must account for these challenges, known as “greenwalls.” The conflict underscores the importance of energy security and stability in achieving a clean and peaceful future. Ukraine’s experience in ensuring energy system functioning during the war has paved the way for a new model of global energy sustainability.

The Russian war in Ukraine will likely affect the shape and pace of the energy transition worldwide, especially in Europe. Balancing security of supply, affordability, and sustainability will be crucial in this context.

Energy transition is mainly an Economic transition with many social and political aspects. An exceptional technological transformation of the global energy system is anticipated in the next half-century or so, with alternatives, mainly nuclear and renewable energy sources gradually replacing the conventional fossil fuel sources. Amongst all our technological infrastructures, energy systems are arguably those that are most deeply embedded in modern economies and societies. Energy transitions require considerable reconfiguration in the sociopolitical and economic spheres of society. This will have impacts especially for vulnerable population groups and disadvantaged communities.

Affordability and Energy Independence are high on the political agenda globally owing to concerns over increasing energy needs for development, security of supply, rising costs and climate change. It is not easy to reconcile these needs with international climate commitments. A key challenge is thus to ensure equity and justice in energy transitions whilst accommodating these other commitments.

In our Hellas, Lignite was the key fuel that drove the economic and social development of the country over the last 70 years. The Greek patented rapid De-Lignitization has created an unsustainable model for the country that is affecting the welfare of its citizens, the country’s budget and the investment climate.

The current Energy and Economic transition model was proven inadequate to meet the needs for growth and prosperity for the planet’s eight billion people and this time maybe it is not the lack of resources (the old argument) but the lack of using existing and new technologies in creating a new sustainable, resilient and human focused model.