03 Feb 2023, 12:56
Benjamin Wehrmann

NGO urges “pause to think” about LNG expansion as Germany overshoots gas storage target

Clean Energy Wire

The hasty buildout of Germany’s liquefied natural gas (LNG) import infrastructure is turning into a threat for the environment and local residents, and requires a “pause to think” about further upsizing, NGO Environmental Action Germany (DUH) has said. Plans to further increase the proposed Stade LNG terminal’s capacity could lead to “oversizing,” especially as there is no longer an immediate risk of a gas shortage in the country, DUH argued. The NGO called on the state government of Lower Saxony to halt the plans for a larger LNG port in Stade, which include both an onshore terminal and an LNG regasification vessel (FSRU), causing unnecessary additional risks to local habitats. “Speed is put above safety in Stade,” DUH head Sascha Müller-Kraenner said, adding that the heavily industrialised Elbe river estuary should not have to be burdened with further infrastructure, and especially not with quickly improvised construction plans. “There’s no risk of a gas shortage this winter or next, so there’s also no need to hurry at the expense of nature and local residents,” Müller-Kraenner said, arguing that all efforts should be directed at building out renewables.

The country’s gas storage targets for late winter, meanwhile, were greatly overfulfilled, according to Germany’s Federal Network Agency (BNetzA). The government had aimed for a minimum filling level of 40 percent by 1 February, while storages were filled almost 80 percent on the target day, BNetzA said, adding that “security of supply is safeguarded.” However, the agency said difficulties could still arise for next winter and reiterated calls to save gas wherever possible. Consumption had been below average for several weeks thanks to savings efforts and warm weather, which reduced demand overall.

The war in Ukraine has pushed efforts to diversify Germany’s gas supply away from Russian deliveries to the top of the government’s agenda. As part of these efforts, the government is going full steam ahead in supporting the build-up of the country’s own LNG import infrastructure, with the first shipmenst ariving already in late 2022. Reports in December said the government expects a possible overcapacity of import infrastructure, which could exceed total previous import volumes of Russian gas.

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