Germany should double its fleet

Go quickly. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz inaugurated the second floating liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in the port of Lubmin on the Baltic Sea on January 14. Operated by TotalEnergies, the vessel has an annual gasification capacity of 5 billion cubic meters, which is enough to meet about 5% of Germany’s demand.

In mid-December, Olaf Scholz inaugurated the first floating terminal in Wilhelmshaven on the North Sea, which is also managed by a French group. “One of Germany’s leading LNG suppliers”, according to his press release. Another should be commissioned by the end of the month in Brunsbüttel at the mouth of the Elbe.

Three new floating terminals are due to arrive in Germany within the year after construction sites were cleared thanks to billions of euros released by the government.

At the start of its operation, the Six should provide one third of the country’s gas needs. According to the government, several of them should be converted into permanent land terminals starting in 2026.

Intermittent removal of renewable sources

Because the Germans’ addiction to gas remains stronger than ever, despite the phasing out of Russian gas, mainly through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, which accounted for more than half of the country’s supply before the war in Ukraine. Its twin, the Nordstream 2, which was supposed to be launched this year, was largely sabotaged last September.

Germany needs to almost double its gas-fired power plant capacity (currently 27.5 GW) between 2025 and 2031, according to a report published in early January by the Federal Grid Agency, the sector regulator. is the period intended to meet the demand for electricity. Thus, several dozen new blocks will be built.

Although the official goal is to generate 80% of electricity from renewable sources by the end of the decade, the remaining 20% ​​could be supplied by gas, as the country would have to stop using electricity there as well. coal and nuclear power.

Increasing carbon footprint

With so much intermittent power, gas must also be used to ensure grid stability and reliability. At night, when there is no sun, and on windless days (common in very cold weather), plants will also run at full capacity to meet demand. Obviously, Germany is opting for renewables and gas, which is not very good in terms of emissions.

Already, according to the Electricity Map website, Germany had a carbon intensity of 419 g CO2.2 kWh at 10:00 a.m. on Monday, January 16, with electricity generation including 60% renewable energy. The carbon intensity of electricity produced by nuclear power in France is… 60 g CO2 kWh, with 36% renewable energy.

Environmental risks

In this scenario, Germany has no choice but to turn to future LNG, especially from the US and the Gulf emirates. But the ecological question is raised and remains unanswered for now. To the point that the topic is starting to be discussed in the country, especially with the massive arrival of shale gas from the American East Coast.

It’s a hard pill to swallow for some environmental movements, especially since they don’t believe the government’s promises to quickly convert these terminals from gas to hydrogen.

Because the carbon footprint of American shale gas is not good. According to Carbone 4, its production alone accounts for 40% more emissions than conventional production. “U.S. LNG carbon footprint tops 85% of coal emissions for same amount of energy consumed” emphasizes learning. Carbon emissions vary between 1 and 10 between Norwegian or Dutch gas and American shale gas.

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