After the proclamation of the Federal Republic of Germany in 1949, German intellectuals tried to explain to the whole world in general and their nationals, in particular, how, in principle, all the horrors associated with the World War Two became possible in a highly cultured and developed country. As a result, the old theory about the “special path of Germany” (Deutscher Sonderweg) received a fresh impetus, allegedly due to the unique features of the German history. Some accepted this explanation, others rejected, however, in any case, some part of German politicians, businessmen and public opinion leaders are guided for real by the thesis about a “special path” in their life.
At least, one gets the impression that it is precisely the conviction of the special role of Germany on the European continent that drives those German politicians in the parliament, in the federal government and among the leaders of the federal state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, who stubbornly promote the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project, fiercely refusing to reckon with the position of the European Parliament, many of the European Union member states, France (the main partner in the EU) and the United States (the main partner in NATO).
The eventual launch of NS2 will create a situation on the European gas market that will raise a question for any EU citizen. That is, due to NS2, Germany will be able to receive gas volume amounting to 395 billion cubic meters per year into its system, while the entire EU consumes about 400 b.c.m. per year, with the Germany’s part for the domestic consumption amounting to 90 b.c.m. Thus, the question cannot but arise — why does Germany seek to receive such huge volumes of “blue fuel”?
The answer to this question exists and it sounds like the implementation of the concept of the “energy turn” (Energiewende) by the German government. This concept assumes the gradual Germany’s shifting away from the use of fossil fuels and nuclear power with a transition to the use of renewable energy sources (RES) solely.
Thus, Germany expects to increase the share of electricity obtained from RES up to 50% by 2030, up to 65% by 2040 and up to 80% by 2050. Also, this concept provides for the rapid shutdown of all coal-fired power plants, gradual shutdown of nuclear power plants, development of new technologies related to the use of synthetic gases and hydrogen, as well as general intensification of investments in green energy sources.
Moreover, taking advantage of the position of the EU leader country, and, possibly, also being guided by the thesis about Deutscher Sonderweg, Germany rigidly imposes its Energiewende on the entire European Union. Berlin does not hide the fact that they are trying to ensure that the long-term German climate policy and energy strategy are fully copied and adopted by the European Commission in Brussels, becoming generally binding for all EU member states.
At the same time, a plan for the successful implementation of “energy turn” has some economic, technical and temporal nuances. Germany shuts down operating coal-fired power plants right today, nuclear power plants — tomorrow, while the era of complete domination of renewable energy sources is expected… somewhere the day after tomorrow. Naturally, practical and prudent German politicians need to provide the country with some kind of energy for future. They found a way out in a sharp increase in natural gas supplies. That is, gas is intended to serve as a kind of bridge between coal and nuclear power and the widespread use of renewable energy sources. That is why Germany does not want to scrap the joint NS2 project with Russia so stubbornly!
Basically, the fact that Frau A. Merkel is driving the German people (and the entire EU — in the long term) to a “green paradise” is simply amazing. However, this movement takes place over the bridge built by Mephistopheles, and, for some reason, this fact does not bother anyone in Germany!
At the same time, Berlin, while discussing NS2 with Paris, Warsaw, Kyiv and Washington, overtly twists facts, since it pursues strictly personal goals in the geopolitical and geoeconomic areas. Sheltering behind the calls for the creation of an environmentally friendly “green” Europe, Germany is striving to rise above all other EU countries due to huge supplies of cheap gas from Russia. The latter has already promised Germany significant and long-term discounts on “blue fuel” pumped through NS2.
Berlin convinces everyone around that it is Russia only which can provide the required volumes of natural gas at reasonable prices. In this regard, German politicians and businessmen, without turning an eyelash ask Europeans (especially Poles and Ukrainians) and Americans to “close their eyes” to the expansionist foreign policy and authoritarian domestic policy of the Russian Federation.
Actually, German politicians are frankly lying! Germany can receive additional volumes of gas not only from Russia, which is an undemocratic and explicitly confrontational country to NATO. Thus, investors (German, Dutch, Belgian and others) have been offering to the federal government for several years to provide funding to construction projects of four terminals for liquefied natural gas (LNG) in Germany, as well as to recover the costs of connecting these terminals to the national gas distribution network. The following facilities are expected to be constructed:
- Brunsbüttel (Schleswig-Holstein) — a terminal shall be constructed with a regasification capacity of up to 8 b.c.m. per year. The terminal will be launched in 2023;
- Wilhelmshaven (Lower Saxony) — a terminal in the form of a Floating Storage Regasification Unit (FSRU) with a regasification capacity of 10 b.c.m. per year. The works will start in 2022;
- Stade (Lower Saxony) (near Hamburg) — the terminal will have a regasification capacity of 12 b.c.m. per year (with the possible increasing capacity up to 15 b.c.m.). Commissioning is scheduled for 2025;
- Rostock (Mecklenburg- Western Pomerania) — a small LNG transfer terminal with a capacity of 300 thousand cubic meters per year is planned.
Berlin does not stand against the construction of the above mentioned facilities, however it is in no hurry to help their early construction using federal funds. In fact, the real LNG supply through these terminals may well allow the federal government to close the NS2 project and successfully decarbonize the German economy. An additional bonus of the operation of LNG terminals will be a real diversification of the “blue fuel” supply to Germany, since even now 50% of natural gas enters the country from Russia (24% from Norway, another 20% from the Netherlands and about 6% is produced on the territory of Germany). Well, in the case of launching NS2, Germany’s dependence on Russia will naturally increase even more.
In addition, abandoning of the NS2 project will allow Germany maintain relations with its partners both in the European Union and NATO. Perhaps the Germans should remember their outstanding intellectual Reinhart Koselleck, who argued that the effective political capacity of the European Community can be ensured only provided that two basic principles are observed — equality of the unequals (that is, taking into account those who are in the minority) and the ability to compromise.