Germany can fill gas storages before winter, but risks of shortage remain – operators
Clean Energy Wire
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 in winter, said the association of storage system operators INES. “Currently, market prices in Germany provide strong incentives for filling [the storage facilities],” said the organisation in a press release. It modelled several scenarios for the country’s gas supply over the winter 2023/2024 with cold, normal and warm weather. INES warned that, in case of cold temperatures, storages could be emptied as early as January next year. Even at normal temperatures, storage facilities could be near-empty at the end of the winter, the scenarios show. “A look at the coming winter shows that the security of gas supply in Germany has not yet been restored,” said INES managing director Sebastian Bleschke. While temperatures could not be predicted at the moment, “we have to prepare for such a scenario”, he added. INES said consumers would have to save more gas than they have until now if it gets cold.
Following the halt of deliveries from Russia last August in the aftermath of the country’s invasion of Ukraine, Germany scrambled to find alternative sources to fill its storages to avoid a gas shortage in winter. The country set strict targets for storage filling levels at certain dates throughout a year. Mild temperatures, savings by industry and citizens, as well as production outages meant that a shortage was avoided and storage levels are high (65%). However, gas industry experts and politicians have warned that next winter could be equally or more difficult, because Germany starts the year without Russian pipeline gas imports, unlike last year.