A detailed description of the gas import situation of the EU and Germany, the gas pipelines from Russia to Western Europe, the problems with the transport-transit countries, the possible transport alternatives can be found in the Article “The controversial Baltic Sea natural gas pipeline Nord Stream 2: Background on the US blackmail”. The following article builds on this.
Is the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline necessary?
Russia supplies around 120 to 150 billion cubic metres of natural gas to the EU each year, almost a third of which to Germany, all by pipeline. The transport capacity of the pipelines per year is much higher:
Central management through Ukraine, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Austria: 150 billion m3 alone,
Northern pipeline through Belarus and Poland: 30 billion m3,
New Nord Stream lines 1 and 2: 55 billion m3 each (Nord Stream 1 has been completed since 2011).
With Nord Stream 2, therefore, the supply of gas from Russia could be doubled. However, there is no evidence of an increase in natural gas consumption to such an extent. The Greens are therefore right to say that Nord Stream 2 is superfluous in terms of energy.
But that was not the real reason for the pipeline construction. Behind this is the anger with the transit states, in the case of Ukraine. It has had a largely monopoly position so far, which then became problematic when it went west course and turned with active US support at the gas shut-off tap to optimize transit charges. From this point of view, it is understandable that the Eastern European transit countries and the countries with a fundamentally anti-Russian confrontational position are not enthusiastic about the Nord Stream lines.
Will this lead us to increased dependence on Russia?
By Nord Stream 2? Complete nonsense. How could a country become dependent on the neighbouring country if it builds a new one to the existing gas border crossing, thereby bygetting the toll monopoly of the former border guard?
The opposite is true. It is a normal interdependence of the economy: the Russians want to sell gas, and we want to buy gas. Apart from the Russians, there are other suppliers, besides us there are other customers.
How can we make gas superfluous
No more need for gas! There are now some people, notably on the green spectrum, who say that gas is just as harmful to the climate as coal. There is something about it: If you burn an energy unit of hard coal, you will get about 65% more CO2 than if you burn an equal energy unit of natural gas.
In the case of lignite, it is even twice as much – lignite is, as we know, the most evil energy source in this respect, while natural gas is sometimes hailed as almost equivalent to renewables. Now, more than 90% of natural gas is methane, and methane is 25 to 50 times as harmful to the climate as CO2. In other words, even if only 3% of the natural gas extracted escapes unburned, the climate advantage of lower CO2 emissions is gone.
How much methane escapes? Strangely enough, there is little research into this. However, it can be said that with conventional natural gas extraction with good technology and careful execution, hardly anything is likely to escape. As with oil extraction, leaks are caused by accidents, sloppiness, inadequate protection measures.
This is not the case with fracking: this technique systematically escapes up to 10% of the extracted gas without this being prevented.
In addition to production, the consumption side must also be taken into account, for example in the case of power plants: because gas is much easier to handle than coal, the efficiency of gas in electricity generation is much higher than in coal. In German power plants: Nearly 60% of the gas input energy is converted into electricity, in the case of coal and lignite only a good 30%. For the production of 10 kWh of electricity, I need more than 30 kWh of coal energy as an energy consumption, or alternatively less than 20 kWh of gas energy. This means that even if gas loses 3% due to leaks and thus becomes as bad as coal in terms of climate, it still has the huge ecological advantage of being consumed much less of it in power plants.
And another great ecological advantage: gas-fired power plants can be driven up and down very quickly, in minutes; they can therefore react very quickly to changes in consumption and to changes in the supply of wind and solar power. In this respect, they are ideally suited to renewable power generation. Lignite-fired power plants, on the other hand, take hours and days to change the load. Time and again, wind turbines have to be disconnected when the supply of wind is high, because the power grids cannot absorb the extra power, because they are already used with lignite and nuclear power, because they cannot be driven down quickly enough.
We can buy gas from the USA. This is an important motive of the US government for its North Stream opposition. And it would be economic and ecological lyane. Economically, gas extraction in the US is largely done with fracking technology. This is considerably more expensive than conventional production. Above all, transport from the USA is much more expensive than through pipelines from Russia. Us gas is liquefied, compressed to one six hundredth of the volume of gaseous natural gas, then loaded onto special LNG ships, snipped into Europe and then relaxed and fed into gaseous state again.
Ecological: As shown above, fracking gas produces an enormous amount of methane as a outlet, and LNG transport is much more energy-intensive than tube transport. Fracking gas is a sourness in terms of climate, as well as a large-scale poisoning of the assisted area.
The taz reports that, according to the US government, 2 million of 3 million abandoned fracking wells have not been safely sealed. Because of lack of money. How it happens in the market economy. Consequential action by the government: The rules on methane retention have been deleted.
The German government has already allowed itself to be blackmailed a bit in negotiations with the USA and wants to build an LNG landing port with taxpayers' money. Stade, Brunsbüttel, Wilhelmshaven are in the running. The Atlantic trolls and the greatest hypocrite of Western politics,‘The Greens’, voted in favour.
reduce energy consumption and rely on renewable energies. That’s it! This makes us independent of Russia, makes Nord Stream superfluous … If Germany had started with a climate protection policy in 1990 sensibly and intensively, we would no longer have coal-fired power stations and could have saved ourselves all the Nord Stream effort, because our natural gas demand would also be much lower. Because, importantly, natural gas is less bad than coal, but natural gas is still a powerful climate destroyer, the use of which must be reduced.