Germany’s seismic energy policy U-turn
- Mar 2, 2022 12:43 pm GMT
Europe is undergoing a profound awakening. Russia’s ruthless bombardment of Ukraine is shaking the scales off people’s eyes. Decades of political hand-wringing and rhetorical contortions around Russia’s central role meeting European demand for gas and coal are coming to a dramatic head. The fence-sitting of some EU member states, Germany in particular, was always problematic. Now it is untenable, and we are witnessing a seismic shift in thinking around European energy security.
The German government’s indefinite halt of Nord Stream 2 (see last Friday’s issue) was followed by another two highly significant policy U-turns. On Saturday, Berlin decided to send arms to Ukraine, breaking from its neutral standpoint that had limited assistance to sending helmets to Ukrainian frontline soldiers, prompting ridicule in some quarters.
On Sunday, Chancellor Olaf Scholz indicated his administration’s willingness to defer planned coal and nuclear plant closures that are widely expected to drive greater natural gas burn. Simultaneously, Berlin intends to expedite the development of Germany’s first two LNG import terminals to diversify gas supply sources, and invest more in seasonal gas storage and subsidise wind and solar to the hilt.
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