Germany is one of those countries for whichRussia is the main energy supplier. It accounts for more than half of the supply of natural gas and coal, as well as a third of crude oil. Earlier we said that Germany reduced its own gas production, while the rejection of nuclear energy led to an energy crisis. Now, in connection with the events in Ukraine, Germany has decided to abandon Russian energy resources as well. German Foreign Minister Annalena Berbock said oil imports from Russia would be completed by the end of 2022. As a result, many have asked themselves the question - what is the alternative and will Germany be able to avoid an even greater energy crisis in the event of a complete rejection of energy supplies from Russia?
Germany's transition to renewable energy
The transition to clean energy began in Germany around30 years ago, as in several other European countries, due to the climate crisis. However, technology does not allow us to quickly abandon traditional energy sources. The transition process spanned decades. However, the German government decided to hurry up and announced plans to completely phase out coal by 2030. This is eight years earlier than the deadline set by the previous government.
The goal towards which the country is striving is to receive up to80% of electricity from renewable sources. It must be said that even last year the goal was more modest - by 2030 to generate 65% of energy from renewable sources.
It must be said that Germany is not alone in itsaspirations. France, which gets 70% of its energy from its nuclear power plants, has also pledged to focus on renewables. Moreover, President Emmanuel Macron, during his recent election campaign, said that France would be the first major country to phase out gas, oil and coal.
Earlier we said that renewableenergy sources have their pros and cons, in comparison with nuclear energy. However, in recent years, thanks to the development of technology, the cost of energy from renewable sources has begun to decline significantly, and its cost is already even lower than nuclear energy.
To speed up the transition to renewableenergy sources, the German government plans to pass a series of laws this summer aimed at increasing subsidies for renewable sources, as well as reducing the bureaucratic red tape that has slowed down such projects in the past.
Legislators hope that all these changes inCombined with steadily declining prices for solar and wind installations, by 2030, onshore wind energy generation and solar generation will quadruple. Offshore wind power will also be greatly expanded.
Germany's dependence on gas
Germany is one of the most dependent ongas from European countries. It has many power plants that run on natural gas. In Berlin, even some of the streets are lit up with old-fashioned gas street lamps. In total, 20,000 such lanterns have been installed in the capital.
It must be said that Germany is not onlyexported large volumes of gas from Russia, but was itself a fairly large producer of natural gas in Europe. However, starting from 2004, production volumes began to decline. Moreover, they have decreased especially strongly in the last few years. So in 2020, this figure decreased by 16%. In the next 10 years, gas production will be completely stopped.
The reason for this is simple - the largest depositsgas is gradually depleted. At the same time, European countries do not want to extract shale gas on their territory, as this can lead to serious environmental problems, as we talked about earlier.
Is the gas crisis unavoidable?
Tipping point according to some expertsmay be a sudden cessation of Russian gas supplies. This can happen for one of two reasons - either the EU will impose sanctions, or Russia itself will refuse to supply gas because of the supply of weapons to Ukraine. As you know, problems with gas supplies to Poland and Bulgaria have already begun.
In a survey conducted by the German magazine DerSpiegel last month, only 49 percent of people said they were willing to make sacrifices to cut off energy supplies from Russia. However, at some point they may not have a choice.
But what is the alternative?The country plans to switch to renewable energy sources only by 2030, and the heating season begins this fall. Apparently, climate problems in such a situation will fade into the background.
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Now even the most ardent environmentalistsare discussing whether coal-fired power plants that were scheduled to close should continue to operate. But this will not solve the problem completely. A return to nuclear power is being discussed. Recall that after the accident at Fukushima, Germany began to abandon nuclear power plants.
Therefore, the only option for Germanyreplace Russian natural gas - look for new suppliers of natural gas. Obviously, gas will have to be purchased from the United States in liquefied form. This means that it will cost even more. This means that the crisis will worsen in any case.