Germany: 22 Million Households with No Gas and Six Million Jobless by Next Winter?
More than half of the 43 million households in Germany heat with natural gas. If the gas flows stop, that means unbearable cold for nearly 22 million of them next winter. But the others will also be affected, as soaring gas prices on the free market impact the price of electricity — which has increased by 320% in the past 12 months at the Leipzig-based power exchange. And if the long-term gas contracts with Russia are abandoned, the inflation is certain to increase further.
Klaus Müller, head of the German Federal Grid Agency, a Green Party fundamentalist who is in charge of managing the national energy supply, has just issued another “warning” on the consequences for private natural gas consumers if the event of local gas shortages. “The moment the pressure in the gas network in one region falls below a certain minimum level, the fuse would blow in hundreds of thousands of gas boilers in one fell swoop”, he told newspapers of the Funke Media Group a few days ago. “They would have to be manually reactivated by trained specialists if gas were available again in the region. No one can wish such a scenario, because it would take a very long time to restore the gas supply.”
In fact, there are interim alternatives, such as maintaining operation of the remaining three nuclear power plants beyond the planned switch-off at the end of 2022, or finally granting the license for the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, or even pressuring Canada to release a crucial pumping unit withheld under anti-Russia sanctions, so that it can be re-integrated into Nord Stream 1. By the way, the temporary shutdown of this pipeline for maintenance, scheduled for July 11-21, occurs every year in July.
In addition to private households, a gas shortage would of course hit all other sectors of the economy. According to a study by the Bavarian Industry Association (VBW), German GDP would decrease by some 12.7%, threatening some 5.6 million jobs.