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19 May 2023, 13:41
Carolina Kyllmann

German govt to set controversial location for floating LNG terminals into law

Clean Energy Wire / Zeit Online

The island of Rügen on Germany’s Baltic Sea coast is to be included into law as a location for floating liquefied natural gas (LNG) import terminals despite local opposition, according to the latest amendment to the so-called LNG Acceleration Act. “Since there is still a corresponding need to secure the energy supply, Mukran, a site on the Baltic Sea coast, is included in the law as a project site following a close exchange with the state government of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania,” the economy ministry (BMWK) wrote in a press release. Construction measures for the two Floating Storage and Regasification Units (FSRU) could be implemented better as the harbour is already a designated commercial and industrial area, according to the ministry. One of the two FSRU (Neptune) is already in operation in Lubmin and would be relocated to Mukran. However, local and regional authorities, as well as the local population and NGOs, have been very critical of the plans, fearing negative consequences for the local environment and tourism, which is particularly important on the island that is a popular holiday destination. “The federal government is once again demonstrating its rigid and democracy-damaging approach. It is once again secretly creating facts without the citizens' knowledge,” said Karsten Schneider, mayor of nearby Binz, Zeit Online reports. The law reform now has to be agreed by parliament.

Germany is going full steam ahead in supporting the build-up of the its own LNG import infrastructure, as Russia’s war in Ukraine and the ensuing energy crisis spurred efforts to diversify Germany’s gas supply to the top of the government’s agenda. Rügen is set to become the site of one of several new and temporary LNG import locations hosting FSRUs. NGOs and researchers have criticised the government for pushing for a "massively oversized" import capacity, citing an expected decrease in gas demand and substantial capacity in neighbouring countries, but the government argues that a significant "safety buffer" is necessary to secure German and European supply.

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