04 Mar 2024, 13:19
Jennifer Collins

Germany's emergency gas plan to remain on second-highest threat level



Germany has no plans to downgrade from the "alert level" of its gas emergency plan, saying the supply situation remains "tense" two years after the Russian invasion of Ukraine upended European gas markets, according to news agency dpa. In a response to a parliamentary question, the country's economy ministry said it would push forward with the controversial liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal on the Baltic Sea Island of Rügen. The terminal is "necessary insurance against any possible tightening of gas supply or even gas shortages," the ministry said in answer to Leif-Erik Holm, a lawmaker with far-right AfD party. In its response, the economy ministry said the LNG terminal was particularly important for southern and eastern neighbours – who still get gas from Russia – in the event remaining supplies were stopped. 

Still, Holm criticised the government's adherence to the alert level, which is the second highest in a three-tier emergency plan and was triggered in summer 2022. He also called the Rügen terminal a threat to the environment and tourism on the island. The terminal started trial operations on February 24.  

Green Party economy minister Robert Habeck recently told the German parliament that "energy supply is secure, the storage facilities are full even at the end of the second winter." German gas consumption decreased in 2023. The country was heavily dependent on Russian fossil gas until 2022 when Russia invaded Ukraine but now mostly receives imports from Norway, and through the Netherlands and Belgium. It has also since built up its domestic LNG infrastructure, but only about 5 percent of gas used in Germany arrives at the domestic terminals. Researchers and NGOs have criticised that LNG infrastructure expansion plans are massively oversized.

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