Europe’s green policies have been an unmitigated disaster. The continent is having second thoughts on its misguided green policies, and it’s not hard to see why. By propping up uncompetitive solar and wind projects, Europe has driven prices up and driven energy-intensive industry away towards shale-flush America. By refusing to embrace the shale revolution, Europe has become the world’s top consumer of cheap and very dirty American coal. Now we’re finding out that European energy policy is a failure when it comes to oil as well.Over the past five years, 15 European oil refineries have shut down. Many of those that have remained open are operating well below their capacity. These refineries could no longer compete with the developing world due to Europe’s aging infrastructure and the industry’s declining profit margins. The WSJ reports:
Europe’s aging refineries have struggled to adjust to the lower demand and weaker profit margins that accompanied the economic slowdown. They have also been hit by increased competition from newer refineries in the Middle East and Asia, which benefit from lower operating costs.
Governments have tried to step in to broker deals to keep many of these refineries open, but no one is interested:
“All of Europe is for sale, but nobody wants to buy it,” said a senior executive from the oil marketing and refining industry who didn’t wish to be named.
The upshot of all of this is that, even though Europe’s overall oil consumption is down—thanks to the economic downturn—its imports of refined oil products are up 8 percent since 2007. Refined products naturally come at a premium, which gets passed on to consumers and industry.Green energy, brown energy, it makes no difference…Europe will find a way to screw it up. We don’t envy the individuals and manufacturers who have to pay energy bills amidst this shambolic situation.[Oil facility image courtesy of Shutterstock]