Germany Cut Russian Gas and Kept the Lights on This Winter. Now What?

Germany Cut Russian Gas and Kept the Lights on This Winter. Now What?
Germany’s Economy Minister Robert Habeck, Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Finance Minister Christian Lindner pose in front of a floating liquefied natural gas terminal in Wilhelmshaven, Germany, Dec. 17, 2022 (AP photo by Michael Sohn).

During the recent holiday season in Germany, amid fears of an energy crisis, Berlin’s famous Kurfuerstendamm Boulevard was fully lit and adorned with Christmas lights. This optimistic display of normalcy came as Germany was working to prevent the worst effects of losing its supply of cheap Russian gas, particularly during the winter season.

Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the German government has been weening the country off of its dependence on Russian energy, which amounted to 142 billion cubic meters of gas in 2021 and accounted for approximately 32 percent of German supplies before the war. Berlin suspended final certification of the $11 billion Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline between Germany and Russia, and agreed to a European ban on Russian oil. And in August, Moscow halted all gas deliveries through Nord Stream 1. As a result, according to the Federal Network Agency, Germany no longer imports Russian gas, which has now been primarily replaced by Norwegian, Belgian and Dutch supplies.

Political figures from across the spectrum offered grave predictions about the potential fallout, including fears of a financial meltdown, caused by Germany’s new energy policies. Green Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock warned of a “popular uprising” due to energy shortages and price hikes. Meanwhile, Berlin Mayor Franziska Giffey assured residents that rolling blackouts would only last a couple of hours if needed.

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