Saturday, December 3, 2022

Energy crisis: Is Europe tumbling from Russian to Chinese dependence?

Energy crisis: Is Europe tumbling from Russian to Chinese dependence?

The energy crisis is a dramatic demonstration of the extent to which Europe’s economies are dependent on Russian gas. Everywhere there is a call for a turn to renewable energies so that we are no longer at the mercy of Russia. However: Even with an energy transition, there is a risk of major dependency. This time from China.

editorial staff
30. September 2022 19:22

Because Moscow is hardly delivering any more gas to Europe because of the EU sanctions against Russia, energy prices across Europe have galloped to astronomical heights. Private households and companies have their backs to the wall financially because of skyrocketing energy costs. In short: All of Europe is in panic and uproar.

Now the EU and European governments want to switch the energy supply as quickly as possible because of the massive dependence on Russian gas. “Energy transition” is the dictum. Renewable energies such as sun and wind are seen as new beacons of hope, keywords: photovoltaic systems and wind turbines.

In Germany, by 2030 there will only be 100 percent green electricity

In Austria, the power supply should come from 100 percent green electricity by 2030. In addition, the “mobility turnaround”, especially the switch to e-cars, should reduce dependency on fossil fuels. All well and good. However, this in no way means a reduction in dependencies. On the contrary: A green transformation in Europe’s energy and raw material supply will create a whole range of new dependencies, in this case not on Russia, but on China:

First: When it comes to e-mobility, there is no way around China. As far as the production of e-batteries is concerned, the Middle Kingdom is one of the most important suppliers of industrial metals such as lithium and cobalt. Here the dependence on China for raw materials is 32 percent. In the case of electronic components, the dependency is as high as 52 percent. What’s more, 66 percent of the battery cells are sourced from China.

The European auto industry is also heavily dependent on China

Second: Europe is also very dependent on wind energy. It is true that 58 percent of European wind turbines are produced in Europe (only 23 percent in China). Otherwise there is a massive dependency on the People’s Republic of China. 56 percent of the components, 41 percent of the processed raw materials and 54 percent of the raw materials come from China. If the supply chain for these components is interrupted, European wind turbine production will come to a standstill.

Third: Europe’s by far greatest dependency on China is in solar energy. Starting with the raw materials (53 percent) and the processed materials (50 percent) through the manufacture of parts and components (89 percent!) to the final production (70 percent), Europe is dependent on China for solar and photovoltaic systems.

When it comes to solar energy, there is no way around the Middle Kingdom.APA/dpa/Sven Hoppe

Dependent on Chinese supplies for better or for worse

Against this background, it would be inconceivable that a war would break out between China and Taiwan, as is currently feared. This would have far-reaching consequences for the European economy, especially for the ongoing energy and mobility transition. Because: A failure of the supply chains from Asia would be tantamount to an end to renewable energies and e-mobility in Europe.

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