05 May 2023, 13:34
Julian Wettengel

German households, industry and power plants reduced gas use by a quarter in second half 2022


Clean Energy Wire

Fossil gas use by private households, industry and power stations in Germany fell 23 percent in the second half of 2022, compared to the same period in the previous year, according to a report by the Hertie School’s Centre for Sustainability. The gas savings were not a one-off weather effect, but the result of a fundamental change in consumer behaviour, the Centre wrote in a press release. “That is a fundamental shift and much more than most experts, including ourselves, expected at the beginning of the crisis,” lead-author Oliver Ruhnau said. The researchers found significant and substantial gas savings within all consumer groups, but with differences in timing and size. Industry started reducing their consumption as early as September 2021, while small consumers saved substantially since March 2022. “For small consumers, including households and small enterprises, savings peaked in September 2022 at 28 percent and remained high throughout the winter,” researcher Clemens Stiewe said.

Energy saving measures, supply diversification and mild winter weather helped Germany avoid a severe gas shortage in the winter 2022/2023. Following the halt of deliveries from Russia in August 2022 in the aftermath of the country’s invasion of Ukraine, Germany scrambled to find alternative sources to fill its storages. Germany will be able to fully fill its gas storage facilities over the summer even if only a moderate volume of the fuel is available in the EU internal market, but there is still a risk of a shortage during winter, said the association of storage system operators INES in a recent report. Pressure on the European and global gas markets has eased since the beginning of 2023 due to favourable weather conditions and timely policy actions, said the International Energy Agency (IEA) in its latest quarterly gas market report. However, the improved outlook for gas markets in 2023 is “no guarantee against future volatility and should not be a distraction from measures to mitigate potential risks,” said IEA. “Global gas supply is set to remain tight in 2023.”

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