Germany tightens its gas savings plan and increases its storage targets

Germany tightens its gas savings plan and increases its storage targets

In order to reduce gas consumption, the German government announced on Thursday (21 July) an energy security package including mandatory gas-saving measures for businesses and stricter regulations regarding the level of gas storage tanks. gas.

So far, gas consumption has only decreased by around 5-7% compared to last year, which is far from the 15% reduction predicted by the European Commission. Therefore, the German government is proposing a new plan.

With the coming period being considered the most delicate, Robert Habeck, German Vice-Chancellor, said: “We have to be persistent. Winter is yet to come”.

“According to all the scenarios we are considering, even the second winter will still pose challenges for this country and for Europe”he added.

For the president of the Network Agency, Klaus Müller, the savings target should be even higher.

“In order to avoid a gas shortage, the goal to be achieved is an overall saving of 20% throughout Germany”he said Thursday.

Reopenings of lignite power plants envisaged

To achieve the necessary consumption reductions, Germany should put in place several measures, ranging from increasing gas storage targets by 5% at all levels, to reopening lignite-fired power plants (capacity of 1, 9 gigawatt), to gas-saving measures in public buildings and mandatory gas-saving rules for businesses.

If a company consumes more than ten gigawatt hours (GWh) of energy per year, the Minister of Economy Robert Habeck wants to make certain saving measures compulsory. In particular, energy saving measures that pay off in less than two years would become mandatory.

In addition, Mr Habeck said he wanted to introduce new minimum fill levels for gas storage facilities in future regulations. In September, the facilities must be filled to at least 75%, the minimum filling level on October 1 will increase from 80 to 85%, and that of November 1 from 90 to 95%.

If the target is not achieved, the emergency protocols come into force and the German gas market operator, European Trading Hub (THE), takes over. “If they are unable to [remplir leurs stocks de gaz]they have to call on THE”explained Mr. Habeck.

Resumption of Nord Stream 1

While gas flows through Nord Stream 1 have resumed, an element that could become critical to avoiding a gas shortage, the German government does not seem reassured.

“Russia is increasingly proving to be a source of uncertainty in the energy system”, said Mr. Habeck. Germany cannot rely on Russian supplies, he stressed, adding that “gas consumption must continue to fall, storage facilities must become full”.

Earlier, Germany had urged Canada to return a Siemens turbine that Gazprom said was needed to operate the pipeline. German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock spoke of real “riots” in Germany.

The turbine has since been transported from Canada to Germany. On Monday (July 18), she was on German soil, the vice-chancellor said. But progress remains limited.

“Sometimes you get the impression that Russia does not want [les] turbine[s]be back »did he declare.

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