German Energy Apocalypse Update
Germany’s second most important source of energy is natural gas. We produce almost none of it ourselves, and yet it is crucial for electricity generation, for our industry, and to heat our homes.
Prior to the Ukraine war, we got about half of our natural gas from Russia. Since the imposition of sanctions, the Russian regime has retaliated by reducing supply drastically; right now, the crucial Nord Stream 1 pipeline is operating at 20% capacity. At first Gazprom pleaded (disingenuously) that the reduced flow was down to routine maintenance. Germany responded by asking Canada to violate their own sanctions and return to Germany a Nord Stream 1 turbine that had been sent there for repairs. The Canadians agreed, and that turbine is now sitting farcically in Mülheim, awaiting Russian import clearances that will never come.
Robert Habeck, our Economic Minister, meanwhile refuses to even consider opening the fully functional Nord Stream 2, because that would be giving a victory to Vladimir Putin. Nor can Germany contract with the Norwegians for more natural gas, because they demand long-term contracts, while German energy doctrine regards fossil fuels as a temporary transitional step on the way to renewables.
Finally, as we struggle to build our meagre gas reserves for the winter, our power stations are burning more gas than ever before. It turns out they’re selling the electricity to the French, who have taken a great many of their nuclear plants offline for maintenance.
What awaits us, as a consequence of this multidimensional folly, is another winter of economic destruction: Our lockdown-battered economy will face serious contraction as industrial production plummets, many Germans will have problems heating their homes, and municipalities will be forced to curtail basic services like outdoor lighting. But, at least we’re hurting Vladimir Putin, somehow.
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