Just like that: Germany U-turns, and wants unfashionable energy like nuclear, coal, and gas



By Jo Nova

All it took was a War.

Policies based on fashion can be dead-set one day and gone the next. Until Saturday Germany was about to close its last nuclear power plants, gas production had been falling for 20 years and it planned to phase out coal plants by 2030.

Germany was the largest energy consumer in Europe, but was also determined to pursue Energiewende, the policy of transitioning from fossil fuels.

On Sunday all that changed:

Nuclear, coal, LNG: ‘no taboos’ in Germany’s energy about-face

By Christoph Steitz, Riham Alkousaa and Maria Sheahan, Reuters

In a landmark speech on Sunday, Chancellor Olaf Scholz spelled out a more radical path to ensure Germany will be able to meet rising energy supply and diversify away from Russian gas, which accounts for half of Germany’s energy needs.

“The events of the past few days have shown us that responsible, forward-looking energy policy is decisive not only for our economy and the environment. It is also decisive for our security,” Scholz told lawmakers in a special Bundestag session called to address the Ukraine crisis.

This will include building two liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals, one in Brunsbuettel and one in Wilhelmshaven, and raising its natural gas reserves.

Graph, gas production, Germany, 1998 - 2020

Graph, gas production, Germany, 1998 – 2020 | Statista

An energy crisis is also a security crisis.  Germany cancelled the Nord Stream gas pipe that would have brought even more gas from Russia.

Germany follows the UK and France in shifting energy policy away from unreliable intermittent green power. Last September the UK announced they were getting into small modular reactors. By October they were putting nuclear power ahead of the intermittent unreliables as a way to transition to “Net Zero”. Late in 2021, France decided to build up to 14 new nuclear reactors.

As of Sunday, Germany is also spending a lot more on their military.

In 2018, one World leader did warn Germany that they were too dependent on Russian gas, and they should have spent more on their military.

Note the reference to the corruption that plagues all of the West: “The Former Chancellor of Germany is the head of the pipeline company that is supplying the gas” … “you tell me, is that appropriate?”


Jan 2021: Profiling the six largest coal-producing countries around the world

The top six largest coal-producing countries in the world

1. China – 3.7 billion tonnes: China dominates global coal production, and accounted for almost 47% of the world’s entire output in 2019. It extracted almost 3.7 billion tonnes during the year, reflecting an annual growth rate of 4%.

2. India – 783 million tonnes: India is second on the list of the world’s largest coal-producing countries, producing around 783 million tonnes in 2019 – just under 10% of the global share. State-owned Coal India, the world’s largest coal-mining company, accounts for around 80% of the country’s output, and has more than 360 mines in operation. … 

3. United States – 640 million tonnes: Coal production in the US has been in decline for a number of years, and in 2019 hit its lowest level since the 1970s at 640 million tonnes.

4. Indonesia – 616 million tonnes: Indonesia posted record coal production in 2019 of 616 million tonnes – a 12% increase compared to the previous year.

5. Australia – 550 million tonnes: Australia produced 550 million tonnes of coal in 2019, just over half of which was thermal coal and more than a third was metallurgical. The figure is a 3.4% year-on-year increase, although the country’s 2020 output is expected to be down by around 9%, erasing those gains.

6. Russia – 430 million tonnes: Russia is placed sixth on the list of the world’s largest coal-producing countries, extracting 430 million tonnes in 2019 – just over 5% of the global share. The IEA anticipates an 8% decline in Russian coal output in 2020 due to reduced demand throughout the year, both domestically and in key export markets including Europe and Korea.