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Aruba, March 26, 2012 - The moment Germany announced its highly publicized decision to phase out nuclear energy in the wake of the Japanese triple disaster; observers began to ask one very important question. Just what energy source would replace such a huge swath of power in Europe's dominant economy?

The short-term solution had to be natural gas. But this would make Germany more dependent upon imported energy, especially from Russia. In that sense, the nuclear phase-out made the Nord Stream pipeline - from Russia, under the Baltic Sea, to northern Germany - absolutely essential.

Today, the first line of the twin pipeline is already in operation. The second should be on line at the end of next year (if not sooner). Then there is the other Russian project - South Stream. This one intends to move Russian and Central Asian gas into Southern and Central Europe. Much of that will also reach Germany.

In addition, several pipeline projects are vying for the excess production from the second phase of the Azerbaijani Shah Deniz offshore development in the Caspian Sea. Included among these is Nabucco, a venture to bypass Russia and transport gas into the Baumgarten hub in Austria for ongoing distribution.

Nabucco has long been the European Union favorite, but it has been unable to attract sufficient supplies. Three other pipeline proposals also are attempting to secure the Caspian gas for transit to Europe. But there is a problem for Germany in all of this.

It does not want to form an increasing dependence upon imported gas to power its economy. And this sentiment is driving one of the biggest alternative energy revolutions in recent memory.

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