"This turbine is operationally ready any time"
The turbine, which is maintained by Canada, has been in Germany since mid-July and is ready to be shipped to Russia. There was nothing standing in the way of rapid installation and subsequent supply of gas via Nord Stream 1, he continued. "Someone just has to say: 'I want it', and it'll be there in short order," Scholz said during the press conference at the Siemens factory.
It is up to Russia to take receipt of the turbine, as the Federal Chancellor stressed once again. The current sanctions affect neither the import of the turbine to Europe nor its export to Russia. Consequently, the present gas supply restrictions are not caused by the anti- Russian sanctions either.
The Russian gas supplier Gazprom could fulfil its supply obligations to European customers at any time without restrictions, said Scholz. In addition, he said, there was sufficient available pipeline capacity besides Nord Stream 1.
Russia has repeatedly reduced its gas supply via the Nord Stream 1 Baltic Sea pipeline, and at times even stopped it, on the pretext of the missing turbine. Due to allegedly missing documentation, Gazprom refuses to take delivery of and recommission the turbine.
Many thanks to Canada
Federal Chancellor Scholz also thanked Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau "for his great willingness to help Europe and to enable the export of this refurbished turbine". The Canadian Prime Minister, he said, had shown real "leadership", which, he emphasised, had ultimately contributed to the fact that it was now obvious that there was nothing standing in the way of the onward shipment of this turbine and its installation in Russia.
"There is no technical justification whatsoever for the reduction via Nord Stream 1 and the non-fulfilment of gas supply contracts,” said Scholz: “That is now obvious. The Canadian government has made a major and far-reaching contribution towards making this clear." The Federal Chancellor announced that he would also be expressing this to the Canadian public on his next trip to the country, which is scheduled to take place shortly.
Achieving even greater independence from Russian energy imports
The Federal Government has been preparing to reduce its dependence on Russian energy imports since December 2021. These efforts have been further intensified in response to Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine, particularly with a view to being prepared for a potential cessation of gas supplies by Russia. The Federal Government, said Scholz, referring to the measures already introduced to secure energy supplies, had acted early, and this was now proving to be helpful.
The Federal Government acted early
A series of legislative changes and radical strategic shifts in the energy supply system involving a shift away from fossil fuels were introduced to quickly reduce short-term energy dependence on Russia. Work has already begun on the construction of liquefied gas terminals in order to quickly develop alternative supply sources. The Federal Government introduced the LNG Liquefied Natural Gas Acceleration Act for this purpose. The first ships are scheduled to dock in Germany as early as the start of 2023 to provide liquefied natural gas for the German gas grid.
In addition to the rapid construction of liquefied natural gas terminals, the Federal Chancellor also referred to the Gas Storage Act, which was passed in late April 2022 and stipulates that gas storage tanks must be well filled at the onset of the heating season to ensure a secure supply throughout the winter. If it were not for this law, said Scholz, the current levels would not exist.
Thinking ahead to the next heating season, coal-fired power plants were recommissioned, and energy-saving measures were introduced at an early stage as additional precautionary measures. The Federal Chancellor welcomed the preparedness of many members of the public who were already making their own contribution to the efficient use of energy. This, he continued, was perfectly possible without having to accept any significant reduction in quality of life.
Relief packages are already having an effect
For those who are already struggling to make ends meet, the Federal Government has launched two relief packages amounting to 30 billion euros, which Scholz said were already having a noticeable effect. These will be followed by further relief packages. The Federal Chancellor promised: "We will ensure we take whatever action is necessary in good time.”