Germany can cope with a lot less Russian gas, but not entirely without it - analysis
Clean Energy Wire
Germany can save enough energy to make itself almost independent from Russian gas within five years, but not entirely, a paper by think tank Agora Energiewende, consultancy Prognos and the Wuppertal Institut finds. Having looked at several scenarios for shorter and long-term gas savings, the researchers conclude that, by 2027, a significant increase in energy efficiency, expansion of renewable energies and the electrification of industrial processes and heating could reduce Germany’s gas demand by around one-fifth or about 200 terawatt-hours. But if Russian gas imports were to stop completely, Germany would have to save around 290 terawatt-hours, despite the European replacement strategy, they say. Short term measures would include lowering the room temperature in all buildings by 0.5°C to 1°C in combination with smaller efficiency measures such as sealing windows.
A similar analysis conducted by energy industry association BDEW concludes that short-term substitution and reduction potentials for gas-usage exist to a certain, limited degree in all sectors: 15 percent in the household sector, 10 percent in the trade and services sector and eight percent in industry. “Around 50 percent of Russian natural gas can be replaced or substituted in the short term. This corresponds to about 20 percent of the annual gas demand in Germany,” said BDEW head Kerstin Andreae.
Germany consumed 912 terawatt hours of natural gas in 2021, of which around 90 percent came from imports. Russia covered just under half of these imports. So far, the German government strictly opposes an embargo on Russian energy imports, saying that this would hurt the German population and economy more than Vladimir Putin’s war efforts in Ukraine.