Russia’s incursion into Ukraine — coupled with European Union and U.S. economic sanctions in response — has left the German people in a state of panic over energy supply shortages this winter.
The recent sabotage of the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines has exacerbated an already precarious situation and driven Germany to drastic measures for the production of heat as cold weather quickly approaches.
According to Bloomberg, Germany plans to incinerate close to 800 million sealed face covers, which are however past their sell-by date, that were purchased in the initial outbreak of the COVID pandemic.
Bloomberg also reported that Germany spent roughly $5.9 billion on those same face covers marked for incineration.
According to Germany’s Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection, waste incineration in Germany offers the possibility of generating not only electricity but also heat.
It is alarming, then, to see the government of Germany so eager to incinerate perfectly usable medical equipment for the sole purpose of generating heat.
Germany is also a country that has pledged itself to dramatically reducing dependence on “fossil fuels” in favor of “clean” energy.
According to an April article by Electrek, Germany committed to a goal of achieving an 8o percent clean energy output by 2030 — an increase from its initial pledge of 65 percent. Germany currently has a “power mix” of just under 41 percent by comparison.
According to a September article by NPR, however, Germany needs quick options to replace the energy curtailed by Russia and is reluctantly returning to fossil fuel out of necessity.
A minimum of 20 coal powered plants across the country are being restored and/or are having their leases extended past their initially planned close dates.
While coal has historically been one of the most reliable means of heat production, the growing cost of the energy source may prove to be another massive obstacle for Germany.
NPR references Evonik, which is one of the largest coal plants in Germany.
According to Heiko Mennerich — Evonik’s head of energy — the cost of coal “rose from $64 per metric ton at the beginning of 2021 to nearly $400 this summer.”
That astronomical increase in coal price could be one reason Germany plans on leaning heavily on incineration for heat production this winter.
Germany is also seeing pushback from other European Union countries, like Poland, who think Germany’s desire to subsidize its citizens’ energy costs will have harmful effects for other EU members.
According to MSN, Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki believes German energy subsidies will create problems for other EU members if left unchecked.
With Germany facing such a grim situation this winter, it will be telling to see what other primitive means of heat production the once prosperous country will turn to as the days grow colder.
Let Germany be an example for the American people, should our own government find itself too dependent on foreign energy and turn to the burning of medical supplies for warmth in the winter.
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