23 Dec 2021, 13:33
Julian Wettengel

German government plans “solidarity platform” to get gas to those in need

Tagesspiegel Background

Germany’s economy ministry has plans to establish a so-called digital “solidarity platform” on which gas can be made available to those who need it most at times of scarcity, reports Christian Schaudwet in Tagesspiegel Background. The aim is to protect gas consumers, such as private households and hospitals, from supply interruptions in the event of a crisis, shows a key issues paper from the ministry seen by Tagesspiegel. According to the paper, the platform would be used to post “market-based offers” as well as state offers in times of crisis. The platform would help identify and procure gas supplies “quickly, effectively and with as little impact as possible” – also for other EU member states. Supplies would come from industrial consumers. These would provide the platform with data about their situation – including information on available gas quantities, on costs that would arise from a supply interruption and on the “social relevance of production” – to help determine the order of shutdowns. The platform will be operated by Trading Hub Europe and the start of operation is planned for October 2022.

The economy ministry develops the platform in the framework of the EU regulation concerning measures to safeguard the security of gas supply. This issue has gained importance in recent months as natural gas prices in Europe reached record highs, prompting several member states to call for more instruments to protect consumers. The German government has largely called for a market-based answer and opposed state intervention or fundamental changes in reaction to what it sees as a temporary crisis. The European Commission has presented a toolbox to help tackle the situation.

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