NOrbert Pralow is standing on the dyke and can already imagine the disaster. In front of the dyke lies the Elbe, brown and wide, behind it an open meadow. Pralow wants to show why he is rejecting what, after many years of back and forth, is suddenly supposed to happen very quickly: the construction of an LNG terminal in Brunsbüttel in Schleswig-Holstein. There will soon be gas storage tanks on the meadow. From the dyke one could then see the history of German energy supply arranged like in a diagram for school books: to the left of the meadow, trucks are loading hard coal from a dark mountain, to the right is the dark brown block of the shut down Brunsbüttel nuclear power plant, surrounded by wind turbines, and right in the middle in the future: a terminal for liquid gas.
Pralow, a retired shipbuilding engineer, is from the “Climate Alliance against LNG” and sees the looming disaster at this very location: a so-called incident operation, so close to the old nuclear power plant, a hazardous waste incineration plant, a fertilizer factory. The risk potential here behind the dyke is already high. You don’t have to increase that even further: “We don’t know what can happen.” In the event of a terrorist attack or if a plane crashes?
And then there is the climate issue. Pralow rejects investments in new infrastructure for fossil fuels. “Gas is gas,” he says. We would have to get out of fossil fuels. It can’t be “that all climate policy principles are suddenly thrown overboard as a result of the Ukraine war,” he says.
With this opinion, however, Pralov and other environmentalists do not seem to find a hearing in the last few weeks. For a long time it looked as if nothing would happen with terminals for liquid gas on German coasts. It didn’t seem worth it because cheap gas came through pipelines from Russia. But now independence from Russian gas is paramount, and for that, LNG terminals are needed. The major parties in the federal government agree on that. And even in the middle of the state election campaign in Schleswig-Holstein, the Jamaica coalition of CDU, Greens and FDP the project forward. There will be elections on Sunday, and that shouldn’t change anything about this attitude either. Now everything should go as quickly as possible, in Brunsbüttel and elsewhere.
Bernd Buchholz is sitting in a café in Heide, just a few dozen kilometers up the west coast. He too can already picture the future in Brunsbüttel quite clearly. Like there, the ships with the liquid gas moor at the so-called “Jetties” on the river, and the gas is led ashore via a kind of jetty, over the dyke and to the storage facilities, which will then be located on the meadow. “Liquified Natural Gas” is not a new invention. It is nothing more than natural gas, which is liquid at temperatures between minus 160 and minus 165 degrees, reducing its volume by a factor of six hundred. This allows it to be transported around the world on special ships, independently of pipelines. It then has to be heated in regasification plants and brought into a gaseous state so that it can be fed into the gas network.