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Renewables and Fossil Fuels Driving the German Economy Forward

With European-Russian energy relationships under scrutiny once again, it truly serves as reminder that there’s no politics without geopolitics which means energy is at the forefront of sweeping change. Some European countries like Great Britain have pulled no punches with respect to how they see Russia and how Russia uses its energy clout as a means for political or economic gain. Others on the continent like Germany, aren’t as vocal in their criticism of Russians but have still denounced the annexation of Crimea. German manufacturer Siemens stopped delivery of power plant turbines to a Russian partner company when it was revealed that the turbines were being transported to the Crimea.  They’ve also denounced Russia’s meddling in the affairs of its smaller neighbors. The reason of course for the more tempered view on the neighbors to the east is of course energy politics and German reliance on at least some natural gas from Russia. Those supplies are set to increase with the building of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline that will bring more natural gas to Germany through the Baltic Sea.

But to be clear, though Russian supplier Gazprom is doing increasingly more business with Germany, Germany does not import “60 or 70%” of its natural gas from Russia as our truth-challenged president. stated during a back and forth with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. Though natural gas importation amounts from 2016 and 2017 are no longer available due to privacy regulations, 2015 numbers show that Germany imported 35% of its gas from Russia. Roughly the same amount that has been imported historically from the Netherlands and Norway. You may be wondering by now if this long and windy road have anything to do with renewables? Undoubtedly. Germany is one of the leaders in renewable technologies and has put tremendous resources into solar, wind and now storage. Even with those investments, as a highly diversified economic powerhouse, the country still requires vast sums of natural gas likely will for the foreseeable future. The Germany will need to look at all energy options for their economy and continue to push on renewables so that they are not overly reliant on natural gas; yet natural gas importation will continue to be the theme of German industry for the foreseeable future.

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