by Ralph Schoellhammer
Thursday, 12
January 2023
Analysis
10:22

The German Greens are playing into Russia’s hands

The push for clean energy may, perversely, lead to more demand for Russian gas
by Ralph Schoellhammer
Protests in the village of Luetzerath, western Germany. Credit: Getty

Throughout German history, reality has been a nuisance to be dealt with, not a fact to be faced. As the philosopher Hegel once quipped, “if facts contradict to my theory, the worse for the facts”.

This tradition continues to this day. At the time of writing, members of the Green Party are protesting the expansion of coal mining around the village of Lützerath, demanding an end to the use of coal for energy production. The expansion of mining, however, was approved by the German Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Action, Robert Habeck — who is of course himself a member of the Greens. Confronted with this contradiction, and the argument that the expansion of coal was necessary to compensate the decline of nuclear energy, a Green member of the German Bundestag clarified that the party base wants neither coal nor nuclear.


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Unfortunately her interlocutor did not ask where the future energy is supposed to come from, so let’s dig into the topic: in 2021 coal (both bituminous and lignite) contributed 28.1% to Germany’s electricity production, while nuclear contributed 11.8%. This means that over the next 10 to 15 years 39.9% of electricity production needs to be replaced just to keep supply stable (some Green politicians are pushing for an even shorter period until 2030). Renewables contribute 39.7% to electricity production, meaning that their actual output (not the installed capacity, which needs to grow even faster due to lower capacity factors for wind and solar compared to coal and nuclear) has to double.

But that is only half the story: Germany wants to shift quickly to EVs and replace heating via fossil fuels with heat pumps — proposals that will massively increase the demand for electricity. According to the Federal Association of Energie- and Hydroeconomics, Germany will need 700TWh of electricity by 2030, which is an increase by 20% compared to 2021.

To sum up, Germany is faced with the prospect of reducing electricity supply by almost 40% while demand is estimated to increase by 20%. So how does the government plan to solve this problem? According to recent reports, by doubling gas firing capacity (from currently 15% to 30%), which of course begs the question of where that gas will be coming from. Supposedly LNG will be the answer, but it is questionable whether Qatar, the US, and other LNG exporters will be capable of satisfying this increasing demand, given the ambitious timetable put forward by the German government. As analysts like Tracy Shuchart of Hightower Resource Advisory have pointed out, at current export capacity the US cannot even fulfill the LNG export contracts that Europe has already signed.

There is, however, an alternative that currently nobody dares to speak of. This alternative, of course, is Russia. How long would it take for Berlin to restart Russian gas imports if a Russian-Ukrainian ceasefire was agreed? The energy question at least partly explains Germany’s lacklustre support for Ukraine. But the true irony is that the party most supportive of Ukraine’s struggle against Russia’s aggression could be responsible for forcing Germany back into the Russian embrace. In a sense, the Green Party and their policy of contradictions have made them the quintessential German party: Hegel would be proud.

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Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
17 days ago

A victory for nonsense. We are governed by fools who willfully ignore the realities kicking them in the butt.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
17 days ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

It’s as if we are living the live version of “1984”.

Tony Price
Tony Price
17 days ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

As opposed to the fools who think that allowing Russia to invade neighbouring countries at will, lay waste to them and expand its empire with no consequences is no problem!

Stephen Walsh
Stephen Walsh
17 days ago

No irony involved. Gert Bastian, the murderous founder member of the German Green movement, was a paid Soviet agent. The German Green Party is continuing in that tradition.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
17 days ago

SCHADENFREUDE at its very best!

Andrew Dalton
Andrew Dalton
17 days ago

Are you suggesting the green party want to have their cake and eat it?

John Riordan
John Riordan
17 days ago
Reply to  Andrew Dalton

Only if it’s a vegan, no wheat, no sugar, beetroot cake with extra dollops of misery on top.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
17 days ago
Reply to  Andrew Dalton

And everyone else’s

Jeffrey Mushens
Jeffrey Mushens
17 days ago

The Greens are, objectively, Russian tools on this. And< I wouldn’t be surprised to see financial support frfom Russia as well.
Drop nuclear and fossil fuel, increase demand for Russian oil & Gas, why wouldn’t Russia support this?

Chris W
Chris W
17 days ago

Surely, if you are green you follow the course which greenest in hue? If Russia seems to support your views on AGW, then you follow Russia. This is not inconsistent.
It supports my view that voting for Greens would lead to disaster. They look at long-term and ignore short-term. Of course, the politicians will ensure that they and their families will not suffer.

Tony Price
Tony Price
17 days ago
Reply to  Chris W

Well the problem with the overwhelming number of politicians, and all of those in power, is that they look at short-term and ignore long-term.

Chris W
Chris W
17 days ago
Reply to  Tony Price

Yes, you are right. So the problem is one of balance and nobody will be able to carry a balanced view to the polls – there will be too many gainsayers and claims of ‘wishy-washy’ politics. A little like reaction to the Lib Dems.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
17 days ago

“But the true irony is that the party most supportive of Ukraine’s struggle against Russia’s aggression could be responsible for forcing Germany back into the Russian embrace.”
Not really. We see much the same thing in this country. parties of the left who use to swear allegiance to the old Soviet Union were quick to transfer that allegiance to the new Russia, including a former Leader of his Majesty’s Opposition

Andy E
Andy E
13 days ago

I keep forgetting — why exactly we are not OK buying cheap gas from Russia? Germany was alright buying it from communist USSR (“financing” the gulag oppression maybe?); we are cool to buy a lot of stuff from communist China, so what suddenly is wrong now?
Oh please don’t mention “the war” pretending the West is kind of innocent and does not start wars here and there practically every year. Any war is terrible, no argument here.
I suspect all this flame talk about financing aggressive regime and such is just a curtain. And there are Americans with overfilled gas storage desperately wanting to squeeze this gas into liquid and sell it to EU for triple price. Business as usual.