Germany misses gas savings target
After a successful autumn of low consumption, Germany isn’t saving as much gas as is needed to get through the winter months without facing shortages. But the Federal Network Agency for Utilities (Bundesnetzagentur) says there is not yet cause for concern.
Germany misses gas saving targets
The head of Germany's Federal Network Agency for Utilities has announced that the country has missed its target for cutting back gas consumption by 20 percent. A worringly-warm autumn allowed Germany to meet storage targets of 100 percent over the past months, but with a cold snap of polar weather passing over much of Europe in the past week, meeting overall savings targets to maintain full storage facilities has become more challenging.
“Currently, the total savings are only 13 percent,” Klaus Müller, head of the Federal Network Agency for Utilities, told Tagesspiegel. This means that Germany’s gas savings are not only below the country’s self-established goal of 20 percent, set by minister Robert Habeck back in the summer, but also below the 15 percent goal set by the European Commission.
Müller stressed, however, that there is not yet a cause for major concern, “If this remains an outlier, we need not worry yet. But it will remain cold in the next few days,” he told Tagesspiegel. “With temperatures of minus 10 degrees, gas consumption shoots up dramatically.”
Bundesnetzagentur stresses importance of personal gas savings
If Germany were to declare a gas emergency, the Federal Network Agency for Utilities would begin to ration gas supplies across the federal states. Though rationing would first affect companies with high usage, Müller has stressed that to meet the 20 percent saving target an “unrelenting effort” is needed. He emphasised his opinion that the German government has a responsibility to encourage people to make personal savings.
“Campaigns urging consumers to make such savings are the right thing to do, because they can be empowering. Keeping quiet about the risks, or denying them, that strikes me as the wrong strategy,” Müller told The Guardian. He also took the opportunity to dissuade people in Germany from using electric heaters, which could overload Germany’s electrical grid, calling the decision to switch to using electric heaters a “stupid and expensive idea”.
Floating liquid natural gas terminal set to open
Since Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, the German government has been scrambling to find alternative resources to replace the 55 percent of the country’s gas consumption which was once provided by Russia via the Nord Stream pipeline.
Germany has had to diversify its resources, deciding to prolong production at its three remaining nuclear power plants and building its first floating liquid natural gas (LNG) terminal, which will open in Lower Saxony on December 17.
LNG is an energy source which is easier to transport and store but is more harmful to the environment than natural gas. The new permanent quay will mean that ships can deliver LNG supplies to Germany. “We are now getting gas from several sources,” said Müller. “We will soon have three terminals for liquid gas, and we are getting good deliveries from Norway, the Netherlands, Belgium and also via France.”
Three further LNG terminals in Schleswig-Holstein, Lower Saxony and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern are set to open over the course of 2023 and should be fully operational by the end of the year.
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