Six months ago, there was talk that the war in Ukraine would bring catastrophic conditions this winter, which would affect Germany and other European countries.
In reality, what is happening now?
There were several countries which were dependent on Russian fuel to heat their homes and generate electricity, and there was talk of citizens suffering severely. I haven’t seen anything about this in the news. .
We must have some Dopers who live in the affected areas.
(I put this in FQ, but I’m open to anecdotal evidence as well as dry facts)
I don’t know how it compares to the rest of Europe (there are other factors, like Brexit and lack of storage facilities*) but my family in the UK is having a pretty hard time.
They haven’t run out of gas, but prices have increased several times over, and my mum and dad (who have a big old house) are having real trouble paying the bills. Loads of local businesses particularly pubs (which were having issues even before the energy crisis) have been forced out of business because of it.
the way the gas market works they were never going to run out, but most countries are heavily dependent on storage. So they had to fill up all their gas storage (at the very high prices) and so the global gas prices dropping will not mean a drop in prices of the consumer.
I live in continental Europe. Energy and petrol prices are up, and many buildings have slightly reduced thermostats (including my workplace), but it’s nothing more than an inconvenience. Especially relative to what Ukraine is suffering.
A very dramatic animated graph showing the change that Germany did regarding its dependency on Russian gas from 2021 to the current level, of 0 usage of Russian gas. The gas industry in Germany and other countries is showing the middle finger to Putin.
Some reduction on thermostats, extinction of displays, and a warmer winter permitted to mitigate the gas shortage. Electricity is back to normal, after a dry summer that shut down most of our nuclear power plants.
They say that bureaucracy always prevents German governments from acting in a quick and timely manner, especially if we’re in a situation when the government consist of a three party coalition. The energy crisis caused by the Ukrainian war showed us otherwise, all involved ministries acted consequently and on time (granted, they had to make many compromises by doing business with some gulf states that are not respecting human rights, but that’s realpolitik for you). Though every citizens pays for it, general energy costs have skyrocketed. I still have ancient electrical heating, and the price for a kwh has almost doubled from €0.24 to 0.42 within a year, and that’s still on the lowest scale of electricity costs in Germany. Same goes for gas, oil, petrol, even wood, you name it.
ETA: yeah, but no, we don’t live in darkness, and the streetlights are up. We even had public Christmas lighting everywhere, if a bit more modest than in regular times.
Zeus to Putin: I helped you guys out with Napoleon and Hitler, but now you’re just being a jerk.
Here’s a chart of the natural gas price. This is the NYMEX future, Louisiana delivery, so it doesn’t capture all of the supply peculiarities of actually getting it delivered to where it’s needed, but it sums up the big picture: the price has collapsed.
Not just Europe. There’s a very large country in North America (well, two of them) that had to bite its tongue and do business with Venezuela to help with the shortages too…
Saw a news article yesterday that German gas prices have dropped down to the level from before the war in Ukraine. (But as others mentioned, many utilities are still working through high-priced supplies.)
It didn’t in hurt lowering the import numbers from Russia to Germany that the main Baltic pipeline seems to have sprung a leak, mysteriously.
There are several projects to build LNG storage and port facilities, notably in Holland. This will allow shipping liquified gas from overseas. Apparently Portugal had one of the bigger existing terminals and was piping gas to the nearby countries. Plenty of measures being taken.
The US LNG Industry (liquefied natural gas ) is running on steroids right now exporting to Europe (much of it to Germany). Many of my friends are making record bonuses and plants are running at over capacity. Germany just completed a gas plant/pipeline in record time.
Germany has also resorted to burning coal (brown coal actually which is one of the worst coals) to produce power. Concessions on emissions / pollution have been given.
However I have heard that the price of natural gas from US is thrice that of Russia. A lot of Europe’s economy relied on cheap Russian gas and that has gone away. I think an economist can better predict the results.
Also Americans have been cutting down forests on steroids too and making wood pellets for Europeans to use. Wood pellets count as green fuels in Europe but the process of making it is pollution intensive in the US.
This is just a small part of the realpolitik. Europe is buying fossil fuels from the gulf states and that means that poor countries that used to buy from Gulf states can no longer get their fuels . Europe has driven the prices sky high. There is a finite amount of fuel in the world and rich Europe should not be punishing the poor countries of the world !!
So yeah Europe should stand its high moral grounds and not buy from the gulf states and bear the winter with less energy. Or they should ensure that the poor countries get the fossil fuels at pre-war prices.
It’s interesting. A big part of what Russia has been trying to do the last couple of decades is prove that liberal democracy doesn’t work. It’s nice to see that, in a crisis created by Russia for the purposes of delegitimizing democracy, Germany and the rest of Europe stood up and showed him that we can get shit done if we really want it done.
And I have to wonder if this is another example of believing your own bullshit biting Russia in the ass. With climate change happening, the traditional Russian plan of “using winter to beat our enemies” is going to be less and less effective. Russia apparently really believed that Germany in particular, and Europe in general, would be freezing their asses off by now, and be just begging Russia to rescue them. How much of that is because they won’t acknowledge the reality that the climate is shifting?
I think the reality is that Brexit plays a huge part. The narrative from UK Gov. is that the war and the pandemic are to blame for the whole ‘Cost of Living Crisis’ over here, but I honestly don’t think we’d be struggling quite like this if it wasn’t for Brexit.
There are also so many other issues, like food shortages, medication shortages, the National Health Service is in crisis (staff shortages, hospital beds completely full, doctors leaving to work in the private sector/abroad), the strikes (rail workers, postal workers, border control workers, teachers, nurses, doctors, ambulance and fire services)… the country is in a mess imo, due to a decade of this Gov. being in power. Brexit tipped it over the edge
OTOH the repercussions are global. Canada is a big energy supplier, yet my natural gas heating bill - for the same meter consumption - is 33% higher for last November than for last March. Obviously nowhere near the pain of UK or EU, but still significant.