EU climate neutrality between the Ukraine crisis, gas and nuclear power
The EU’s goal is to achieve a climate-neutral economy and society by 2050, especially by means of green hydrogen technology based on renewable energies. The EU Commission has now introduced a motion that gas and nuclear energy should be considered green energies, which has met with resistance from the German Greens, as well as Austria, and they are now even considering whether to take legal action against it. Especially since the Greens see Nordstream 2 and gas as sanction mechanisms against Putin Russia. But probably only in the event that Russia invades Ukraine. Perhaps the SPD, the FDP and Federal Chancellor Scholz would then also decide to take such a step, especially under pressure from the Eastern European countries, France, which relies more on nuclear energy and the Small Modular Reactors, especially since the USA could then also pressure that the traffic light coalition that Nord Stream 2 is not going into operation, maybe even luring with its US LNG gas deliveries as alternatives, especially since Trump and the Republicans already did this and the USA, in addition to its own exports, also has an axis with Greece, Cyprus, Israel and Egypt and other countries in the Mediterranean Sea and its gas supplies through the East Mediterrean Gas Forum. Although gas is rejected by the Greens because of Friday for Future and the goal of climate neutrality, it is noticeable that Habeck’s and Baerbock’s criticism is primarily aimed at the possible renaissance of nuclear power and then against Nord Stream 2, but not against gas so generally any more. Trittin has already argued that phasing out nuclear power and coal would simultaneously create an energy gap that could only be bridged by gas as transition energy. Especially since the German energy industry has now also spoken out, declaring the phase-out from nuclear power for Germany to be irreversible, but pointing out the importance of gas, as Federal Chancellor Scholz announced at a trade union meeting with the construction of many gas power plants. Therefore this news:
““Energy industry to EU taxonomy: natural gas necessary, no return to the nuclear power
The nuclear phase-out is inevitable, say the German energy suppliers. But natural gas cannot be rejected for a transitional period. For the Federal Association of Energy and Water Management (BDEW) there is no way back to nuclear power even after the EU Commission’s proposal for a taxonomy regulation to promote climate-neutral energy generation. „For the energy industry in Germany it is clear: The German exit from nuclear power is final, nobody in the energy industry wants to return to this risky and expensive technology,“ says a message from the BDEW. The proposal presented by the EU Commission at the turn of the year is intended to give investors orientation and direct capital into the restructuring of energy production and the economy towards climate neutrality. In addition to renewable energies, this also takes nuclear power and natural gas into account. On the subject of natural gas, BDEW General Manager Kerstin Andreae said, „In order to ensure security of supply, we will still need natural gas for a while and permanent gas-fired power plants for secure, controllable output as a partner to renewable energies“. But the future lies with green hydrogen. In the medium and long term, gas-fired power plants could run on hydrogen and thus be climate-neutral. “So they have to be planned today so that they can use hydrogen as an energy source in the future,” said Andreae. More capacities are necessary With the current phase-out of coal by 2038, the Federal Ministry of Economics is assuming that 15 gigawatts of gas-based combined heat and power plants will have to be built in Germany by 2030 in order to guarantee security of supply for electricity and heat and to phase out coal. and balance atomic energy. Furthermore, additional gas-fired power plant capacities will be required by 2030 if the coal phase-out is brought forward in Germany, explains the BDEW.
Now it is absolutely necessary to expand renewable energies and thus the production of green and low-carbon hydrogen. Therefore, significant investments must now be made in hydrogen projects. Green members of the German government in particular had already expressed criticism of the EU Commission’s plans. Finance Minister Christian Lindner from the FDP emphasized that Germany needed modern gas-fired power plants for the transition. The Austrian Environment Minister Leonore Gewessler announced on Twitter shortly after the EU Commission’s proposals became known that they would examine the proposal carefully and think about judicial measures. If the Commission’s plans are implemented.. According to a world report, the German Federal Minister of Justice Marco Buschmann (FDP) does not rule out such a lawsuit. But it is still too early for such mind games.
Should Putin invade Ukraine, sanctions such as SWIFT and Nordstream 2 will be on the table, but neither will all gas deliveries from Russia be stopped, especially since replacements still have to be organized and the previous US LNG terminals are not sufficient and the whole thing would be more expensive as energy prices were already rising. . If Putin does not start an invasion, the Nordstream 2 question should no longer be so acute for the Greens and only be presented verbally. However, it remains to be seen what is more important for Putin: US and NATO security guarentees, especially a stop of NATO expansion to Ukraine, Georgia, Belarus and the post Sovjet Near abroad or Northstream 2 and SWIFT. A Neo-Yalta and multipolar world order or economic sanctions. It is also possible that certain circles of the US Republicans and from Eastern Europe and also within Ukraine want an end to Merkel’s defensive and moderate Ostpolitik and a confrontation with Russia, perhaps even wanting to induce an invasion to drag it in a kind of Ukrainian Afghanistan adventure that it bleeds to death and perhaps makes a regime change possible because of the ruinous economic situation in Russia as a result of really tough sanctions.The absurd accusation against Poroshenko in Ukraine as a „friend of the Russians“ and „traitor“ as well as the discussion about the delivery of stinger missiles to Ukraine show that there are such forces, although the question is whether Biden wants that as he has usurped the initiative in the direction of de-escalation by means of his virtual meeting with Putin, which means that Berlin and the EU and the Normandy format feel set back. Pressure on the German government to approve arms deliveries to Ukraine is increasing. The reason is that Berlin has not agreed to an application that the NATO Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA) should procure US sniper rifles for Ukraine. The Ukrainian armed forces are already being armed with the help of NATO and its member states. The US has now provided more than $ 2.5 billion in military aid, including the delivery of hundreds of Javelin anti-tank missiles. Poland and the Czech Republic have procured dozens of used armored personnel carriers; Turkey is supplying Kiev with its infamous Bayraktar TB2 drones. Britain, in turn, has begun to support the armament of the Ukrainian naval forces; Among other things, it wants to support Ukraine in acquiring new warships and building a new naval base. With the help of the NSPA, NATO will provide Kiev with a system for defense against drones – with support of Berlin. Kiev demands more and accuses Berlin of „blocking“ further arms deliveries. This should not mean the Greens, but above all Scholz and the SPD, especially since Habeck showed himself with a steel helmet during the election campaign on the Ukrainian Eastern Front and demanded the delivery of defensive weapons. Of course, the delivery of sniper rifles is not a gamechanger or an indicator of an aggressive attitude, especially since Russia has also properly armed up and deployed troops, but the Ukrainian army is no longer as weak and unprepared as it was at the annexation of Crimea in 2014.
But the Greens will not be able to avoid gas as a bridging technology- whether it comes from Russia, the USA or whatever. It gets more interesting with nuclear power. While China, Russia and the USA, first and foremost Bill Gates and Terra Power, are now promoting so-called Small Modular Reactors and thus the previous nuclear fission technology, there are now significant advances in nuclear fusion technology in China:
““Chinese nuclear fusion experiment holds 70 million ° C for 17 minutes
The Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak was able to keep a constant high plasma temperature over a long period of time. The Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) in Hefei in the east Chinese province of Anhui reports a new temperature record. At the end of last year, a plasma temperature of 70 million ° C could be maintained in the experimental nuclear fusion reactor for 1056 seconds, i.e. a good 17 minutes, reports the Institute for Plasma Physics at the Chinese Academy of Sciences (ASIPP). That is the longest time in which such a temperature could be kept constant. This creates a solid basis for further research into energy generation from nuclear fusion, writes the ASIPP. Its general director Prof. Yuntao Song believes that the perfect ASIPP team will overcome any difficulty, no matter how difficult it is. In May, the research team was able to maintain a plasma temperature of 120 million ° C for 101 seconds in the superconducting reactor of the tokamak type in an experiment, and the Chinese news agency Xinhua reported 160 million ° C for 20 seconds. An important step at the EAST is to be able to maintain a temperature of over 100 million ° C for a week.
China participates in ITER
EAST is working on the international nuclear fusion project ITER in Cadarache in southern France. In addition to China, the EU, Japan, the USA, Russia, South Korea and India are involved in the project. The knowledge gained in China should help in southern France. In addition, ASIPP is sending teams of experts to Cadarache, for example in the first quarter of 2021 when it came to installing the 330-ton PF6 field coil for the floor of the ITER, which was also manufactured in China The ITER experimental reactor is intended to test the technology with which energy could be generated from the fusion of hydrogen atoms. The costs are estimated at more than 20 billion euros. https://www.heise.de/news/Chinesisches-Kernfusionsexperiment-haelt-17-M Minuten-lang-70-Millionen-C-6316278.html
The ITER boss explained, however, that due to corona-related delivery problems for plasma and equipment, the commissioning of the research reactor in southern France would be postponed to 2025. However, the Small Modular Reactors are not yet developed for mass production and no one intends to build old-type reactors anymore. But until then, there will be no real alternative to gas..