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Good question. I think what is driving North stream is to prevent a disruption in gas supplies.

Gas powered plants are flexible and can be turned on or off as the system demands it. It is therefore - together with oil and hydro - very useful as top load, no matter if you are running lots of base load in the form of nuclear and coal, or intermittent in the form of solar and wind.

So even though just above 10% of Germanys electricity is from gas, it is an important part. North Sea gas is running out, UK and Netherlands that owns most of it and uses gas heavily can be expected to prioritise themselves. Pipelines through Ukraine has a political risk. LNG from US is expensive and also has a political price. So North stream it is.

Better alternatives would be pumped storage or otherwise try to eliminate the need for gas, but that is not the course Germany has set.

by fjallstrom on Tue Sep 28th, 2021 at 11:16:02 AM EST
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