Germany Brings Chaos to Energy Markets

The EU should demand that Germany keep their nuclear plants open and keep Nord Stream 2 closed for the time being for the safety and security of our democracies.

The German decision to close nuclear plants and build Nord Stream 2 are two of the root causes for the massive increase in energy prices in Europe. This is bad for Northern Europe because we have long cold winters that require heat to keep us warm and keep running our heavy industries upon which we rely. 

Such huge increases in energy prices have two important consequences for the whole of Europe. We will be less competitive in the global markets, and civic unrest could start to be seen on Europe’s streets. Both consequences are highly undesirable.

Closing the nuclear plants has meant that Germany is more reliant on gas as the base source of power in the winter, when renewables, like wind, solar, and battery storage are not able to deliver the required peak power requirements. 

Gas is mainly supplied by the Russia, a country that is run by autocrats. They challenge our European democracies, they permit criminal hacking into our infrastructure networks, they openly threaten neighbouring sovereign nations, they try to retake with violence former parts of the Soviet Union, like the Ukraine, Geogia, Belarus and Kazakhstan with aggressive military activities, and they support bloody civil wars in far-flung countries like Syria for reasons that are not clearly apparent. 

Germany has sought to maintain trading relations with Russia for decades because Russia is a big market for German goods and important source of gas. Nord Stream 2 has been built as a show piece for German Russian cooperation. However, this new pipeline is an obvious way for Russia to turn the heat on Ukraine where the other major gas pipeline is located that delivers Russian gas to Ukraine and Europe. Nord Stream 2 has the capacity to replace the supply of Russian gas from this pipeline to Europe and leave Ukraine in the cold. 

The result of Germany’s decisions to close their nuclear plants and build Nord Stream 2 are tipping points that have given the Russians a stronger hand in setting the supply of power to Europe. 

The situation was made worse with the combination of short-term shutdowns nuclear plants in France and a poor management of gas storage capacity in many European countries. 

Giving the Russians a stronger hand when it supplies nearly 45% of all the gas to Europe is a high risk game that the Germans should never have pursued. The result is that consumers and companies are now being forced to pay outrageous prices for electricity and gas to heat and run their homes, shops and offices, and factories.

It is a pertinent question to demand why other members states have not demanded that Germany should stop acting in such a reckless manner. Their actions have caused or at least made worse the stability of Europe’s energy situation. Increasing a greater dependence on Russia as a source of basic energy is a reckless policy that has consequences for the whole of Europe. 

There is also another important question to be considered. Why are the Germans effectively being allowed to unilaterally increase pollution from fossil fuels when they decide to close the nuclear plants. There are no imminent risks from continuing to run the plants even though there were valid reasons to object to the plants being built in the first place. 

The huge extra costs being spent now by consumers and industry for higher energy bills could easily be used to increase investment in the supply of renewables as well as financing new innovations in other sustainable energy sources. 

As stated above there are good reasons for the EU to demand that Germany keep their nuclear plants open and Nord Stream 2 closed for the time being. The fact that Germany can act in such a manner without consequences is one of the great weaknesses of the EU. 

Too many decisions are being made by the two largest countries, Germany and France, without being effectively challenged by other member states. This is not sustainable as the present situation in the energy market plainly shows.

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