Submitted by Harold Saive
Germany will restart coal-fired power plants and offer incentives for companies to curb natural gas consumption, marking a new step in the economic war between Europe and Russia.
Berlin unveiled the measures Sunday after Russia cut gas supplies to Europe last week as it punched back against European sanctions and military support for Ukraine.
The steps, part of a broader strategy initiated after the invasion of Ukraine, aim to reduce gas consumption and divert gas deliveries to storage facilities to ensure that the country has enough reserves to get through the winter.
As President Joe Biden waxes poetic about the amazing “transition” his energy policies will affect, the green fervor in Europe is flailing. Former German Chancellor Angela Merkel led the charge in Europe. She did such a good job that Spiegel International called electricity a luxury good in 2013. Germany paid the highest electricity rates in Europe then, and a renewable energy surcharge was poised to raise them by 20%. German Environment Minister Peter Altmaier provided the following advice for Germans struggling to pay for Merkel’s “project of the century,” Energiewende. The policy project shifted from using nuclear to “green energy,” like wind and solar.
“Join in and start today,” Altmaier writes in the introduction. He then turns to such everyday activities as baking and cooking. “Avoid preheating and utilize residual heat,” Altmaier advises. TV viewers can also save a lot of electricity, albeit at the expense of picture quality. “For instance, you can reduce brightness and contrast,” his booklet suggests.
As we know now, Merkel adopted a ‘not in my backyard” (NIMBY) approach and increased fossil fuel imports from Russia. Her green policies were a primary driver of President Biden lifting the sanctions on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. Many, including Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, believe Biden caving to Merkel emboldened Russian President Vladimir Putin in his invasion of Ukraine. Food and energy are the underlying causes of most wars, and the current conflict is no exception.
However, the war is causing Germany’s new government to take a hard look at the pro-scarcity green energy policies they have imposed on their population for years. Russia is restricting the flow of natural gas to Europe. Unlike France, which did not kill its nuclear energy capacity, Russia’s restriction hits Germany even harder because President Joe Biden has adopted the same ridiculous NIMBY policies Merkel employed, and the U.S. cannot increase shipments to Germany.