15 Aug 2022, 13:43
Benjamin Wehrmann

German govt renews call to brace for hard winter, introduces new gas saving measures

Clean Energy Wire

Leading members of the German government have renewed calls for perseverance and willingness to make sacrifices to beat the energy crisis, with the upcoming heating season set to drive up gas demand and exacerbate the crisis. “This year is laden with great challenges,” chancellor Olaf Scholz said in a video message. “Challenges that have been caused by the war that Russia unleashed on Ukraine,” he said, adding that these threaten Germany’s energy security and increase prices for everyone. However, the Social Democrat (SPD) said the government had taken precautions that would allow the country to weather the crisis, citing the construction of liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals, the restarting of coal-fired power plants and the possible runtime extension for the country’ three remaining nuclear plants. Yet, this would not be enough for ensuring that citizens get through the crisis, he said. “A lot of people have very little money,” Scholz said, adding that those with a “normal” income would also begin to feel rising costs bite into their household budget. The chancellor said his government had introduced two major relief packages worth some 30 billion euros to ease the financial burden on citizens and promised that “we will not stop there.” There would be further relief measures coming, especially for those who need them most. “If we stick together, we will make it. You’ll never walk alone,” Scholz said.

In an earlier announcement, economy and climate minister Robert Habeck said the government would introduce new energy saving measures to ensure gas storages are filled as planned. “The government remains steadfast in its policy to overcome dependence on Russian energy imports,” the Green Party politician said. Germany would have to reduce its gas consumption by about 20 percent, which would require a range of measures to curb consumption, Habeck argued. In the coming heating period, the maximum temperature in public buildings would be limited to 19 degrees Celsius and businesses are urged to follow suit. Moreover, gas providers and landlords would have to notify and inform their customers and tenants about expected price rises and the potential for saving energy. “We’re facing a national effort and this will need strong and concerted action by the state, the economy and the society,” Habeck said.

As Russian gas supplier Gazprom has significantly reduced flows to Europe, the continent could face severe shortages especially in the coming winter, when buildings are heated with the fossil fuel. German grid agency BNetzA has calculated supply scenarios for the coming months which show the country has to massively save fuel and find large volumes of alternative deliveries to avoid gas shortages.

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