Political science creates a difference between policy and politics. It is not the same if I analyse the policy or the polity of a problem. The state, the institutions or the governmental frame support the constitution. Politics mean the process of a political issue; who is involved? Who is affected? If we are looking at the matter itself, the aims or intention of an idea or a political program, then we are analysing the policy.
We do need energy – everyday. You could not read this article without energy, it is published online. Energy is the key reason for our prosperity and wealth. The number of things which need electricity is endless, just have a look around your room. Western countries often import natural resources – causing a dependence to other nations. In some countries such as the United States of America, the security of supply of energy is a department in the defense ministry. Some politicians in European states asked for an polity change such as own ministry of energy. The German chancellor and the French president often join talks about the supply of energy in twenty or thirty years. The beginning of the European Union was also about controlling the industrial and energy sectors of the enemies to avoid a new war.
According to an OECD statistic in 2009, the consumption per capita of primary energy in the European Union was 3.31 tons of oil. If we just had oil, everyone in Europe used approximately 3.31 tons of it. Primary energy means every kind of energy source found in nature such as i.E. petroleum, wind and water energy.
The energy consumption is higher in some states (like United Kingdom, France and Germany), and lower in others (like Greece or Spain). The leader in 2009 – even though not a member of the EU and consequently not included in the total result was Iceland – the small country with just 320 000 residents burnt up round about 16.4 of oil.
Europe imports 40 percent of its coal, 67 percent of its natural gas, 85 percent of its oil and almost every uranium, the raw material for nuclear power. In total, all European countries spent 488 billion euros for energy imports in 2011.
Europe's lifeline for cold days is Russia's gas – it keeps our houses and shops comfortable and warm. This dependence is risky for us – and for Russia. On the one side the Kremlin needs our money, Russia does not have any other successful industry. On the other side this gas is our life insurance in winter. The current Crimea/ Ukraine crisis makes it obvious, how dangerous this dependence is. Therefore the German government changed Germans energy strategy completely. The so called “Energiewende” (energy transition) change should reduce this dependence of natural resources such as oil and gas.
The “Energiewende” has one other goal: to protect the climate and slowing down the speed of climate change by reducing carbon dioxide emissions. The intention is to create a sustainable economy which works with renewable energy like wind, biomass and solar power. These “green sources” are alternatives to fossil fuels such as oil, coal and gas. The energy transition means also a reorientation from importing energy (for example importing it from Russia) to supplying energy.
The United Kingdom goes another way – London just extended a contract with the French company EdF to build new nuclear power stations. Fukushima has been the trigger for Germany to adopt nuclear power, this does not bother London. Is this policy the right one? Which policy is more successful? The future holds the answers to these questions for us.