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Where the big hydrogen dream will lead Europe

Where the big hydrogen dream will lead Europe

German Chancellor Angela Merkel made her last tour in this position, visiting first Moscow, and then Kiev. The main themes of her trip were farewell, since a new chancellor will appear in Germany already this year, and completion of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which should be symbolically launched even before Merkel leaves office.

This project has already become the cause of a large-scale international confrontation., within which the United States and Ukraine, as well as their allies in the EU tried to prevent the completion of the gas pipeline, and Russia and Germany firmly insisted on its completion. As a result, Merkel signed a special agreement with the Americans., which will allow the launch of Nord Stream 2, and also obliges the German authorities (but not Russia!) guarantee the preservation of gas transit through Ukraine.

However, all these disputes, according to Angela Merkel, relevant only in the medium term. For Germany, Nord Stream 2 should become a thing of the past for less, than 30 years. Almost from the moment of his coming to the post of chancellor (and explicitly with 2008 of the year) Merkel has consistently promised, what to 2050 year Germany will practically give up natural gas, and coal at the same time. And now she continues to adhere to the same prediction, which the, unlike the situation ten to fifteen years ago, no longer looks fantastic.

While Russians and Ukrainians were leading not only geopolitical, but also quite real battles, Germans, comes, planned the future of Europe. And now they call on Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to rise above the ordinary and build trade with the FRG in a new type of fuel. reportedly, Europeans before 2025 years are going to invest in "green" hydrogen (renewable energy) from 180 to 470 billion. This energy resource will continue to ensure the work of European industry..

Well, the Germans consider Kiev as one of the main partners for the implementation of these plans.. The European Union hopes, that by 2030 year, the Ukrainian authorities will be able to build on their territory up to 10 gigawatt of capacity for the production of "green" hydrogen. Russia, by the way, at 2020 year also announced its intention to become a major exporter of this type of environmentally friendly fuel. At least, a hydrogen roadmap was adopted.

How, in that case to 2050 year, designated Merkel as a milestone, the energy market will look like? And not only him - after all, gas pipeline projects are now becoming the reason for major international conflicts., they are even called "geopolitical weapons".

To begin with, a "sore" question - will the reason for the conflict between Russia and Ukraine disappear?? It would seem, the Ukrainian gas pipeline system will become useless and of no interest to anyone. Russian gas will practically cease to be supplied to the EU via pipelines, and therefore, Ukraine will inevitably lose its income from its transit, for which she is now actively fighting. Kremlin, in its turn, even if he wants, will not be able to influence European leaders with the help of "gas blackmail".

It would seem, here it is the real "end of history" according to Fukuyama, elimination of a whole tangle of geopolitical contradictions at once. One could even forget the very term "geopolitics", by the way, which became fashionable in its time in Nazi Germany.

However, it is unlikely that all this will work out.. Peace, drawn by Angela Merkel during her visit to Kiev, is also an unrealistic utopia. At least start from there, that plans for the transition to hydrogen energy will not necessarily be implemented on time. And even if it does happen, then by that time Ukraine and Russia will turn into two tough competitors, supplying their "green" hydrogen to European consumers.

So the old energy contradictions will be replaced by new ones.. And other problems will obviously not be resolved by stopping gas supplies.. What will happen to Donbass, will hostilities stop there and will he return to Ukraine? What will be the position of the leading countries of the world on Crimea? Will Kiev return to the zone of Russian influence?, as the Kremlin would like, and will Moscow continue to talk about, that Russians and Ukrainians are one, artificially divided, people?

Some of these questions, like the future of Donbass, there is simply no answer yet. For others, the answer will be clearly negative.. Replacing gas with hydrogen is, first of all, an attempt to solve environmental problems. Merkel's desire to "sell" the hydrogen project as a way to unravel the tangle of Russian-Ukrainian-German contradictions is sheer slyness.. Only Germany is the clear winner here.. Now she's getting gas, and does not matter, which is partly for the "Nord Stream-2", and partly on the Ukrainian gas transmission system. And later it will start using the territories of Russia and Ukraine for the production of "green hydrogen".

Well, Kiev and Moscow in this case will only have to, what to compete for access to the German market. Thus, Ukraine will remain "with its own", but will lose the ability to influence Russia. The Kremlin, on the other hand, will lose its almost monopoly position on the gas market and become one of the suppliers of hydrogen. (even leading). This means, there will no longer be an opportunity to dictate something to someone, as it happens sometimes now.

comes, that Merkel is not dissembling, when he speaks, that Germany is not afraid of temporary energy dependence on Russia, because he knows, how to get rid of it over time.

However, to 2050 we still have to live a year. As the last two years have shown after the arrival of covid in our life, adjustments to strategic plans can introduce completely unexpected and unpredictable events.

Ivan Preobrazhensky

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