Germany must decrease consumption of natural gas and increase coal-burning to fill gas storage facilities next winter, Robert Habeck, German Economy Minister, announced Sunday. This announcement comes as Germany moves away from lower Russian gas supplies.
Habeck stated that it is a critical situation. They are taking further steps to decrease consumption and strengthen their precautions. Gas consumption must drop further. However, more gas must be stored to prevent winter from getting really tight.
Germany relies majorly on Moscow’s gas for powering its houses and heavy industry. However, it has been able to reduce Moscow’s imports to 35% which was 55% prior to the outbreak of the Russia-Ukraine War.
Habeck stated that supply security is currently assured despite a “worsened market situation” in the gas markets in recent times. Habeck stated that soaring prices were Putin’s strategy to “unsettle us”, drive up costs, and divide us.”
He said that they won’t allow that and are decisively fighting back. He stated further that they are doing so thoughtfully and precisely.
Germany is planning to end energy production that is coal-fueled. However, Habeck, in the center-left coalition, announced that it would return to power plants that are coal-fired, reducing the consumption of gas for the production of electricity.
They have a substitute reserve that they will call upon, Habeck stated. He said that although it is bitter, it is quite essential in this kind of situation to lessen gas usage.
Rules for Storing Gas
As per the press release, Habeck’s ministry has begun to prepare an auction model of gas in encouraging industrial gas consumers to conserve gas. Habeck stated that industry was key to reducing gas consumption.
German legislators passed a gas storage law in March. It stipulates that storage facilities for the gas should be nearly full during the initial period of the heating to ensure winter safety.
According to law, the following are the minimum filling levels: Storage facilities must be full by October 1, November 1, 90, and February 1, still 40 percent.
Germany’s Gas storage tanks are currently at 56%. This is despite storage levels being at an all-time low at the start of the year.
We must, and will, do all we can in order to store as many gases as possible during the summer and fall. Storage facilities of gas should be fully stocked for winter. This is our utmost priority, Habeck stated.
Putin threatened in March, to reduce gas deliveries in “unfriendly” nations that denied to pay in rubles as an alternative to the dollars or euros stipulated in contracts.
Gazprom, Russia’s state energy giant, has provided customers with a solution since then. Customers could pay in dollars or euros to Russia’s Gazprombank. The bank would transform the funds into rubles, and then transfer the money to Russia.
However, several European companies including Shell Energy have not followed through, prompting Gazprom in June to cut off natural gas deliveries to Shell’s German customers.
The flow was cut through Gazprom’s Nord Stream 1 pipeline which is a major route linking Russia’s gas and Germany – for the additional consecutive day on Thursday. This sent prices skyrocketing.
The energy giant of Russia stated it cut gas deliveries due to delays by Siemens Energy in returning of turbines that needed repairing.
Siemens had taken the turbines from its Canadian factory for maintenance. He said on Tuesday, that it was not possible to return their equipment back to Russia due to sanctions Canada imposed on the country after its attack on Ukraine.
Habeck responded to Gazprom’s announcement by saying that the reason for announcing further cuts in gas supply to Europe was just an excuse to increase prices.