By adopting sanctions against Russia, European countries closed the Kremlin's gas tap for themselves, writes Deutsche Wirtschafts Nachrichten. But now, in the face of shortages, they have to fight with each other for a limited range of energy. Most are apprehensive about the coming winter, but the real crisis will come in the next heating season, says Gregor Uhlig, author of the article.
Now most businesses and households in Europe are focused on taking the steps necessary to stay warm and solvent this winter, Deutsche Wirtschafts Nachrichten writes. At the same time, few people think about the next heating season, which is when the real energy crisis will begin, explains author Gregor Uchlig.
Politicians are now taking on more and more debt in order to finance programs designed to curb price increases, the German publication continues. At the beginning of September, the German government agreed on a €65 billion package to support the population. This week it was increased by another €200 billion. In Italy, the amount of state support is already 3% of GDP. However, printing money alone will not provide the missing energy.
The crisis in Europe will not end next spring, Uchlig says. According to calculations by Goldman Sachs, in the summer of 2023 the price of gas will reach €235 per megawatt hour. That is, it will be higher than it is now. In France, politicians hope that next year it will be possible to put into operation numerous nuclear power plants, which are currently idle due to repair work. But even there, it is not the coming winter that is of more concern, but the next one.
The end of the energy crisis should not be expected for a number of reasons, the author explains. If the winter is particularly cold, by March Europe's gas storage facilities will be nearly empty. In 2022, they were filled with Russian gas, but Moscow halted deliveries in response to Western sanctions. Now Europe will have to fill them from other sources. But, according to analysts' calculations, there is no need to count on the fact that additional volumes of blue fuel will appear on the world market.
In addition, Russia's Nord Stream and Nord Stream 2 pipelines have recently come under attack, probably orchestrated by the United States. This is yet another reason to worry about Europe's energy security. We shouldn't forget about the suspension of production in Norway, Uhrlig reminds us. Germany, meanwhile, has been very reluctant to agree to extend the operation of its two remaining nuclear power plants. Poland has already cut electricity exports to Germany in order to keep domestic prices down and not to burn too much coal. Sweden is being forced to take similar measures.
"The longer the crisis lasts, the more complex and intense the political conflicts in and between European states will become. The European countries closed the Russian gas tap together, but now they are fighting each other to secure the largest portion of the limited energy range. The result will be an overall deficit in 2023," Deutsche Wirtschafts Nachrichten concludes.