Gas prices: Putin ‘going to keep squeezing’ says expert
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Gas prices globally have skyrocket to record highs over the last few months, after demand soared following a reported squeeze of supplies by Russia. Angela Merkel, who is set to leave her post as German Chancellor after serving for 16 years, struck a deal with Vladimir Putin to see the Nord Stream 2 pipeline transport gas from Russia into Germany. But the pipeline, which bypasses Poland and Ukraine on its route through the Baltic Sea, could be subject to EU law and Mr Putin is said to be hoping to avoid that.
This is partially why gas prices have soared and has resulted in critics slamming Ms Merkel for entering into this deal with Mr Putin in the first place.
But UK Energy Alliance boss Mike Foster has handed Mr Johnson a plan to dodge a future crisis by reducing reliance on foreign gas by switching the gas grid to hydrogen.
He told Express.co.uk: “The solution to a lot of these problems and certainly in the future is to change the gas network to hydrogen.
“If you do that, you cease reliance on imported gas as you are generating it yourself.
“If you have to import it you should import it from a different range of sources so you’re not reliant on just one or two countries that because of geology that have oil and gas.
“You can use the climate more, so wind and sun can produce hydrogen very cost-effectively, and that means you don’t have to be limited to where you get it from.”
Britain exports Russian pipeline gas via the Netherlands but is expected to feel much lighter effects from Mr Putin’s squeeze.
Norway, which is not a member state of the EU, is the main supplier of both crude oil and natural gas for the UK.
In 2020, some 11.7 million metric tonnes of crude oil and 1.4 million metric tonnes of natural gas were imported from Norway.
This year, as in previous years, Russia accounted for less than 1 percent of UK supplies, according to reports.
Meanwhile, a 2019 analysis showed 41 percent of the EU’s imports of natural gas came from Russia, and just 16 percent from Norway.
Latest estimates place Berlin’s reliance on Russian gas as “about 40 percent” – and that number is set to rise with Nord Stream 2.
But while Germany might be more severely affected by gas shortages, the UK has also faced problems due to surging gas prices.
Experts want the UK to start relying less on fossil fuels.
Mr Foster spoke to Express.co.uk earlier this month about plans to switch the UK’s gas network to hydrogen by installing hydrogen-ready boilers in people’s homes at no extra cost to the consumer.
He said: “We are blessed with a lot of wind potential that can generate electricity when we need it, and when we don’t need it, it can generate hydrogen, that’s the way forward so that we’re not always looking at what’s going on in Russia and the Middle East, regimes that are potentially risky.”
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Mr Foster also stressed that we need a varied range of energy sources to reduce our dependency on foreign gas.
He said: ”What you don’t want to do is put all the UK’s winter heating demand onto the electricity system – you need to have a range of options.
“To have a gas network available to supply people’s homes, it’s got to be decarbonised gas. It has to be zero carbon gas and put that in people’s homes and you have electricity so that A, people can choose what product they want, but also you don’t overload the electricity grid when it’s not capable of coping with the demand that’s there.”
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