November 05, 2006

Power struggle?

Perhaps we will look back on this as the warm and cosy era. The excellent Liam Halligan in The Telegraph sets out Europe's increasing dependence on Russia for gas, under the not at all cosy heading "Russian bear could punch our lights out".

Halligan's numbers show just how important energy sufficiency is going to become. Perhaps looking back in 20 years central heating will seem to have been an astonishing luxury and we will be berating governments for having closed down coal mines.

Meanwhile, the failure of two German high-voltage transmission lines caused problems across western Europe. Some five million people in France lost power, mainly in the east of the country and including parts of Paris. Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, Croatia and Spain were also affected by the power cuts.

Even when Sir Nicholas Stern is batted into the long grass, where he belongs, other perils of energy look likely to feature frequently in the news.

P.S. The story is developing. Italy's prime minister has now said Europe needs a central power authority to prevent power cuts like these.

Richard North asks, Why change the present European co-ordination arrangements?

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