German grid agency practices for possible gas supply crisis
Clean Energy Wire
Germany's Federal Network Agency (BNetzA) is conducting test runs today (21 September) for a possible gas supply crisis, aiming to practice what would happen should the agency need to order rationing in gas consumption. "Germany is much better prepared regarding this winter than it was last year," BNetzA head Klaus Müller said. "We can certainly be optimistic, but it is still too early to sound the all-clear," Müller argued. "Today we are subjecting our procedures to a practical test in the event of a crisis. This way we are also well prepared for unlikely scenarios." In case of a gas emergency, the BNetzA would become the national supply coordinator and be responsible for allocating gas. The economy ministry (BMWK), market area manager Trading Hub Europe (THE), network operators, industrial consumers and storage operators are all taking part in the test run. Relevant communication channels as well as the infrastructure of the crisis unit will be tested. "Those who practise react faster and better in an emergency," Bavaria's economy minister Hubert Aiwanger said.
The economy ministry introduced a "gas crisis team" in response to Russia's war in Ukraine and the subsequent halt to Russian gas deliveries to Germany. Since then, the unit has been monitoring the supply situation. The ministry also updated its "Natural Gas Emergency Plan" on 12 September to include the experiences gained last year. The plan identifies the procedures that should be followed in the event of a real crisis. Germany enters the heating season 2023/2024 with much better-filled gas storage levels compared to the previous season and secured new sources of supply, but various factors still can significantly influence the supply situation, BNetzA said. Consumption could rise sharply in the event of very cold weather, for example, and scenarios of a partial or complete failure of natural gas pipelines cannot be fully ruled out, according to the grid agency. Between 1 October 2022 and 31 March 2023, gas consumption was around 20 percent lower than the previous season's average.