German Energy Prices Jump Due to Wind Drought

German energy prices surged on Monday due to insufficient wind generation.

The jump comes amid already crippling inflation affecting household commodities, such as food and gas, in Europe and the United States. On Monday, power reached the highest price level since early March because of a projected deficit in wind output for the next few days, Bloomberg reported.

In addition to the wind drought, a gas crunch is also expected due to the temporary shutdown of the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, which transports 55 billion cubic metres of gas per year from Russia to Germany under the Baltic Sea. The pipeline is expected to be inoperative until July 21 due to maintenance.

Flows through the pipeline will be suspended for about ten days, but some German officials fear Russia’s invasion of Ukraine could threaten to extend the timeline as a political bullying tactic.

For instance, in June Russia limited flows to 40 per cent of the pipeline’s total capacity, claiming that Germany’s Siemens Energy was late to return equipment. Russia’s action came after Germany committed in May to stop importing Russian oil by the end of the year to reduce its reliance on the regime and to protest the invasion of Ukraine.

“Based on the pattern we’ve seen, it would not be very surprising now if some small, technical detail is found and then they could say, ‘now we can’t turn it on any more’,” German Economy Minister Robert Habeck warned at a recent event of potential Russian interference with Nord Stream 1.

In April, Germany unveiled the Easter Package, a plan to expand renewable energies through onshore and offshore wind development in line with the European Union’s REPowerEU Action Plan, a plan to make Europe independent from Russian fossil fuels before 2030. The Easter Package target goal is to transition 80 percent of Germany’s electricity to renewables by 2030.

Wind droughts, such as that which plagued Europe in summer and fall of 2021, have been exacerbating the continent’s current energy crisis, already severe because of the disturbance to global energy markets from the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

Both Germany and Great Britain depend significantly on wind to satisfy increasing energy consumption. Europe’s transition to clean sources of energy has resulted in dramatic swings in power supply from intermittent electricity that is periodically unable to fully support electrical grids.

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