Energy secure if Russia cuts natural gas supply to Europe

Would Ireland be plunged into darkness were Russia to cut natural gas supply to Europe? According to researchers from University College Cork, the answer is ‘No’, although customers could face an electricity price hike of as much as 10%.

In a recently published paper in the leading journal Applied Energy, UCC researchers analysed what would happen if supply was interrupted from major suppliers.

Natural gas meets a quarter of energy needs in the EU, particular for electricity and heating and the EU imports most of its gas —one-third of that supply coming from Russia.

Those behind the study said that before the Corrib project became operational last year, Ireland was a net importer of gas from Britain and is expected to return to being a net importer in the coming years as the Corrib project is small.

The computer model used in the study took two years to complete and, according to Dr Paul Deane from the Environment Research Institute in UCC: “When interruptions from Russia were simulated, it was found that the lights stayed on in Europe and the EU system coped without major issues.

“Since previous supply interruptions through Ukraine, there has been a big push to improve pipeline infrastructure within Europe so gas can be moved in multiple directions. This allows Europe to make better use of supply from Norway, Asia, and North Africa, and provides a strong resilience to the system in times of interruption.”

However, any shortages or prolonged interruption in supply could lead to higher electricity prices of about 10% as gas would to travel further to demand centres.

Read the report here.

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