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Germany will need natural gas throughout the energy transition to renewable sources, the new German government said this week.
"We will need gas throughout the transitional phase," government spokesman Steffen Hebestreit said.
The government's plans are to use natural gas as a bridge fuel and gradually wean itself off it by 2045.
Germany has a very strong Green lobby that has now become part of the ruling coalition. Despite an anti-fossil fuel discourse, the Greens have now apparently accepted the necessity of at least one fossil fuel, perhaps not least because Germany has plans to shut down all of its nuclear power plants by the end of this year.
Despite the still raging energy crisis, though alleviated in the past few days by much higher wind power production, Germany shut down three nuclear power plants at the end of 2021, with a total capacity of 4 GW. According to AFP, this capacity is equal to the power generation capacity of 1,000 wind turbines. However, the comparison ends there because nuclear can produce electricity continuously.
This will leave Germany with three nuclear power plants, slated for closure at the end of this year. The anti-nuclear position of the German government earlier this week sent it on a crash course with Brussels, which plans to classify some natural gas and nuclear power projects as green, which would open the door to more investments in these sources of energy alongside wind, solar, and hydrogen.
"We consider nuclear technology to be dangerous," Steffen Hebestreit told media in Berlin earlier this week, noting the issue of radioactive waste storage. The spokesman added that Germany "expressly rejects" the EU's assessment of nuclear energy as sustainable and that Berlin is mulling over the next steps.
The strong anti-nuclear stance of Berlin may well set it on a collision course with neighbor France, which relies on nuclear energy for more than two-thirds of its electricity consumption.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.
If that is the case, then Germany should speedily certify Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline which will keep it and the EU adequately supplied with gas and help alleviate the still raging energy crisis in Europe.
Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
International Oil Economist
Visiting Professor of Energy Economics at ESCP Europe Business School, London