February 9, 2023

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How can France get inspiration from Lithuania doing without Russia’s energy

The breakdown is complete. Gas, oil, then electricity: Lithuania has stopped all energy imports from Russia. The Minister of Energy praised “An Important Step in the Path to Energy Freedom”As well as a “Expression of Solidarity with Ukraine”Announces the news on Friday, May 20th. If Vilnius’ breastfeeding was accelerated by the war in Ukraine, it was made in the early 1990s. How did the small Baltic state free itself from its main supplier of gas, oil and electricity?

Lithuania can set a precedent when the EU has been talking for months about banning Russia from successfully establishing oil. Can France learn a lesson from this?

By creating new infrastructure

After declaring its independence in 1990, Lithuania relied on the power of the former Soviet Union. Moscow immediately imposed a severe embargo on the young Baltic Republic by suspending oil supplies for three months. “From the beginning, questions about energy, sovereignty and security were incorporated.” Train Willensen Berling, energy security expert in the Baltic region, says researcher at the Danish Institute for International Studies. A few years later, in 1994, 90% of the oil consumed in Lithuania came from Russia. According to the World Bank*, Like all its gases, until 2013, according to International Energy Agency*.

Lithuania soon realized the need to find other suppliers. However, it was exclusively linked to other members of the former Soviet Union: Russia, Belarus and its Baltic neighbors. He had to communicate with other associates. A new refinery was built, completed in 1999, to run power cables to Sweden and expand its network of gas pipelines (such as Poland, which became operational in early May) … These projects are risky and risky annoying. Russia, which explains the long delays in implementation, The Washington Post*. The relationship with Sweden was first mentioned in 2004, the call for tenders launched in 2009 and opened in late 2015. But growing pressure from Russia under Vladimir Putin led to the suspension of gas supplies to Georgia and Ukraine in 2006. Continue on the path to energy freedom.

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The centerpiece of this strategy today floats in the port of Glyphosate. Name that well Freedom, A ship that came into service in 2014, serves as a terminal for the processing of liquefied natural gas (LNG) imported by sea. Thanks to this, Lithuania can buy LNG anywhere in the world without being restricted on the gas pipeline route. Gas can be sold to other Baltic countries as the capacity of the boat is very high.

And France? France is already connected to the European power grid and has four LNG land terminals (Dunkirk, Montoir-de-Bretagne, Fos-Cavaou and Fos-Tonkin). If the whole of Europe wants to shut down the Russian gas pipeline, it must get its products from the sea in the form of LNG, and France will be at the forefront of processing it: no current capabilities. That’s enough. This is why we can lease the floating LNG station in the summer of 2022. According to Echoes. If she wants to rent one or build another, she has to wait in line or pay a higher price. Le Financial Times* These types of boats are in short supply, and as many orders are available, newer models may not leave the shipyard before 2027.

Finding new suppliers

These new infrastructures helped transform Lithuania into other suppliers over the years. In 2013, Vilnius imported all gas from Russia. Since then, thank youFreedomAccording to the site, the country uses gas from the United States and Norway Energy monitoring*. The same goes for more than 70% of its oil from Russia in 2019: the country’s only refinery reached an agreement in March with Saudi Aramco, an oil company to offset Russian losses, reports A BBC*. In terms of its electricity, the share from Russia has been steadily declining in favor of Sweden.

And France? The controls are different. France is not dependent on Russian electricity because it is a “net exporter” (which exports more than it imports), According to the Ministry of Environmental Change. Only 17% of the pipes contain Russian gas. “France is less dependent on Russia than any other European country.”, Morgan Cranes, Research and Innovation Manager at Data Provider Enerdata. He adds“We may slightly increase gas supplies from Norway or Algeria.”. Finally, the head of Ufip tells AFP that Russian oil accounts for 10 to 12% of French crude imports and 20 to 25% of diesel imports, but that will not be the case. “The big difficulty” In case of obstruction. Morgan Grenz explains“It is easier to replace Russian oil than gas because it is easier to transport and the market is less concentrated”.

However, it is easier to find spare parts for a country of 2.8 million people, such as Lithuania, than France. However, many states are eager to access other sources of valuable LNG. “The key part of diversification should be based” According to Morgan Greens, producers like the US or Qatar will take time to increase their capacity. “Can find some distance as in Asia or Australia”Jack Persebois, Emeritus, professor of economics at Montpellier University, explains. “But you have to pay.”

By replacing the gas with biomass

Blocking Russian gas without an alternative would have cooled Lithuania: 62% of the country’s heat production went through Russian natural gas in 2010. The Lithuanians settled at home. Today, wood (mostly produced on site) provides about 75% of the heat consumed in the country. According to the IEA*. This shift towards biomass was encouraged by favorable taxation, rising hydrocarbon prices and existing infrastructure. Most homes have heating networks, connected to underground plumbing systems that can be fully integrated with one or more common boiler rooms.

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And France? In 2018, 27% of the energy used for home heating came from wood, compared to 39% from gas, according to a report. Cabinet Carbon4. Possible: French forests renew themselves twice as fast as they are naturally harvested. According to Ademe. So France can use many more.

However, “If we develop the energy use of biomass, it may conflict with other land applications such as agriculture.”, Jacques Percebois warns. Thermal networks are particularly scarce in France, especially at the center of the Lithuanian strategy. According to Carbon 4, they account for about 5% of residential heating demand in 2018. “It has never been so popular in France”Says Jack Persebois, “Because we wanted to use this heat to make electricity, as we do in nuclear power plants.”

By achieving significant energy savings

To be less dependent on foreign energy, the best way is to consume less of it. Since independence, Lithuania has embarked on major energy restoration projects promoted by its neighbors. “Denmark has helped a lot in improving energy efficiency measures such as insulating homes, installing thermostats and setting up district heating systems.”Train Willumsen recalled Berling.

And France? By focusing on energy restoration, France can kill two birds with one stone: reducing energy consumption and its greenhouse gas emissions from Russia. “Building new gas infrastructure as part of low carbon conversion will not be smooth”Anna Cretti, professor of economics at the University of Paris-Duffin, insists.

However, the researcher notes that France is to blame “Significant delay” In this domain. Investments in energy restructuring now amount to about 15 billion euros a year, almost three times as much, according to the I4CE report quoted by the think tank. Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations (Idri). On May 19, France was formally notified by the European Commission of Incomplete Amendment to the European Command on Energy Efficiency.

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