War in Ukraine: Tracking the impacts on German energy and climate policy
For more background and analysis on the implications of Russias war against Ukraine for German and European energy and climate policy, see this dossier.
Germany and Belgium to link hydrogen networks, double LNG transit and explore second interconnector
Germany and Belgium agreed to link their hydrogen networks, double gas flow into Germany and explore the possibility of a second high-voltage electricity interconnector for cross-border flows, the countries announced following the first Belgian-German Energy Summit. Belgian Prime minister Alexander De Croo and German chancellor Olaf Scholz, together with the countries’ respective energy ministers, met on 14 February to set priorities on energy cooperation and ensure their implementation.
Climate targets could greatly inflate costs of modernising German military
The planned modernisation of Germany’s military announced in chancellor Olaf Scholz’s “Zeitenwende” (turning of the times) speech following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine could face substantial additional costs due to decarbonisation targets. The government aims to make federal authorities climate neutral by 2030, which poses significant challenges for the German army (‘Bundeswehr’ in German), especially in meeting efficiency and emissions targets for its building stock and new construction projects.
Gas boilers continue to dominate German heating market, but heat pumps on the rise
While heat pump sales increased more than 50 percent in 2022, oil and gas boilers continued to dominate the German heating market, according to the annual heating report of heating industry association BDH. Overall, 66.8 percent of all new heating systems sold in the country last year ran on oil and natural gas (5.8 percent oil, 61 percent gas), compared to a heat pump share of 24.1 percent, and 9.1 percent of biomass-based systems.
Germany to auction “huge number” of hydrogen power plants – minister
The transformation of Germany’s energy system away from fossil fuels must quickly be reinforced by sufficient “molecule-based” power plant capacity that can back up the country’s energy system during times of little wind and solar power generation, economy and climate minister Robert Habeck said. “Planning and auctioning needs to start now,” Habeck said at an event organised by German renewable power industry association BEE, adding that the government would be auctioning a “huge number” of hydrogen-fired power plants and other backup capacity still in 2023.
Prioritisation of energy transport on German trains no longer necessary – transport associations
It is no longer necessary to prioritise the transport of coal, mineral oil and gas on German trains, the transport companies’ association VDV and the freight railways association said in a joint statement. Their call comes ahead of a vote by Germany’s federal council on 10 February on extending a law that instructed the country’s rail infrastructure operator DB Netz to give preference to transports of energy sources over other rail freight and passenger transports.
‘Intensive use’ of German coal power plants releases additional 15 mio t of CO2 in 2022 – report
The ‘intensive use’ of German coal power plants lead to additional emissions of 15.8 million tonnes of CO2 in 2022, according to a report by consultancy Energy Brainpool commissioned by Green Planet Energy. Due to the energy crisis caused by Russia’s war in Ukraine, Germany temporarily reopened decommissioned and soon-to-be decommissioned coal power plants last year to avert gas shortages, which resulted in more CO2 being released. According to the authors, the emissions are ‘additional’ because they are not accounted for in the European Emissions Trading System (ETS). Germany's total emissions amounted to about 750 million tonnes last year.
Scholz promises construction of “four to five wind turbines per day” to reach 2030 target
In a bid to achieve the high renewable power expansion targets for the end of the decade, German chancellor Olaf Scholz vowed to make the buildout a priority and hold talks with the 16 states every month to assess and improve expansion speed. The envisaged pace until 2030 would equal “four to five wind turbines per day”, Scholz said. The government is currently drawing up a plan for the required capacity to achieve the target of a share of 80 percent renewables in the power production mix. “Whatever is not achieved on time will then have to be made up for,” Scholz said.
NGO urges “pause to think” about LNG expansion as Germany overshoots gas storage target
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 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.
Household energy prices in Germany continue to fall but remain high in early 2023
Energy prices for German households have dropped markedly in early 2023 but remain at a high level overall since the start of the energy crisis, price comparison website Check24 found in an analysis of price developments for electricity, gas and transport fuels. Prices for nearly all forms of household energy consumption continued to fall throughout January, sustaining a trend towards lower prices since the energy crisis peaked in early autumn last year. However, prices remained higher than in January 2022, before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Earlier 2030 coal exit poses no threat to security of German electricity supply – ministry
An earlier coal exit in Germany before 2030 does not pose a threat to the stability of the country’s electricity system, if renewables expansion is implemented as intended, the economy and climate ministry (BMWK) has said. Even if electricity consumption increases as expected due to the mass roll-out of e-cars, heat pumps and electrolysers for hydrogen production, the power system can cope with the decommissioning of all the country’s remaining coal-fired plants, the Federal Network Agency (BNetzA) found in its latest supply security monitoring report, which is used by the government as a basis of its energy policy planning.
Energy cost crisis hits companies differently across German states
High energy prices are hitting companies unevenly across Germany’s 16 states due to the composition of regional economies, state-owned development bank KfW found in an analysis. “The energy crisis will likely hit the company landscape in each state to varying degrees,” KfW said, explaining that cost factors differ especially for small- and medium-sized companies (SMEs) in the German ‘Mittelstand’.
German chancellor Scholz wants to secure critical raw materials from South America
German chancellor Olaf Scholz wants promote energy cooperation and secure critical raw materials for the energy transition from South America. The politician is visiting Argentina, Chile and Brazil between 28 and 31 January, and has announced cooperation agreements in the areas of energy supply, energy security and raw materials.
German govt must present plan on future gas needs - think tank
The German government must present a plan on the country’s future gas demands, think tank Agora Energiewende wrote in a position paper on the updated network development plan of the gas network operators. The think tank said Germany is heading for an import overcapacity of liquefied natural gas (LNG), and should therefore present a plan for the future need of the fossil fuel and its phase-out. This would ensure transparency and reduce expansion to a realistic level.
German government no longer expects recession due to energy crisis
The German government no longer believes that the energy crisis will plunge Europe’s largest economy into recession this year. The government’s latest economic forecast said the economy is set to grow 0.2 percent in 2023, following relatively mild winter temperatures that have dispelled fears of a gas shortage. In October, the government had still forecast a 0.4 percent contraction. “The government has blown the whistle on the economic crisis,” Chancellor Olaf Scholz told parliament, adding that the "winter of discontent" expected by many had not materialised because his government managed to secure energy supplies.
Germany to promote green restructuring of African economy – dev ministry
Germany wants to promote the development of a climate and environmentally-friendly economy in Africa, the development ministry (BMZ) announced in its “Africa strategy”. “Africa is growing and changing enormously,” development minister Svenja Schulze (SPD) said, adding that how the continent develops in the 21st century will have an increasingly strong influence on Germany and Europe. Following both the pandemic with its disruption of supply chains and Russia’s war in Ukraine and the ensuing energy crisis, Germany is trying to diversify its import partners and reduce dependencies, especially in the energy and raw materials sectors. Germany and Europe “urgently need partners beyond the West,” Schulze said.
IEA head weary of too much energy security optimism in Europe ahead of 2023 winter
International Energy Agency (IEA) head Fatih Birol is weary of too much optimism about energy security in Europe ahead of the 2023 winter, he said in an interview with newspaper Handelsblatt. While gas storages are full, gas prices have dropped, and Germany built LNG import infrastructure in record time, Birol said it’s too early to sound the all-clear, explaining why gas could become scarce as the year progresses. According to the economist, there are three main reasons why Europe could still be driven into an energy crisis: no Russian gas, China's comeback as an importer and little supply growth, especially if the continent experiences “normal” winter temperatures. “Many governments are happy at the moment with the relatively mild crisis so far. But I fear they are a little too happy,” Birol said.
80 percent of German households lowered heating this winter – report
A large majority of German households have lowered indoor temperatures this winter amid soaring energy costs, according to a report by indoor climate management company Tado. With nearly 80 percent of households turning down their heating in November and December 2022, the average indoor temperature in homes across Germany, including apartments and houses, was 19.4 degrees Celsius on average, 0.8°C lower than in the year before.
Germany auctions record onshore wind capacity to compensate slow 2022 rollout
The expansion of onshore wind power capacity in Germany in 2022 again remained below the level required for reaching the country’s renewable power targets, a shortcoming that the government seeks to address by auctioning the highest-ever onshore wind capacity this year. A total of 2.4 gigawatts (GW) in about 550 turbines were installed in the past year, while the auctioned volume for 2023 of 12.8 GW is more than five times higher, the German Wind Energy Federation (BWE) said.
Oil and gas supplies made Germany Norway's most important export partner in 2022
Germany imported around 62 billion euros of Norwegian natural gas, oil and condensates in 2022 and has become the country’s number one goods importer, said the German-Norwegian chamber of commerce. Of a total of around 68 billion euros spent in imported goods from Norway last year, around 58 billion euros accounted for gas deliveries alone. “These figures show the importance of Norway for Germany,” head of AHK Norway Michael Kern said. Norway increased its gas production by ten percent last year, and Germany recently covered more than a third of its gas needs with supplies from Norway, the chamber of commerce said.
Requirement to report cyber-attacks to include LNG terminal operators
Following the attacks of the Nord Stream pipelines in September, the German government wants to expand the requirement for operators of so-called critical infrastructure (kritis) to report attempted attacks and operation disruptions. Liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal operators as well as owners of shore stations for connecting submarine cables to land-based telecommunications networks should also be included in the obligation to report operation disruptions, according to a draft regulation from the interior ministry (BMI).
Energy crisis has become manageable, can be overcome by 2024- minister
The German energy crisis has not ended yet, but has become “manageable” to a point where the government is confident it could be overcome for good by 2024, economy and climate minister Robert Habeck told an audience at business newspaper Handelsblatt’s energy summit 2023. “We’ve nearly surmounted the main challenge arising in 2022,” Habeck said.
Lower energy prices mean Germany likely to spend much less on subsidies than planned – consultancy
Lower-than expected energy prices mean that Germany is set to spend much less from its federal budget for the gas and power price subsidies than anticipated, Marco Wünsch from energy consultancy Prognos told n-tv.
Germany should be able to substantively fill its gas storage ahead of next winter – storage operators
Germany should be able to fill its gas storage units ahead of next winter, said the country’s gas storage operator association INES. “Even with reduced LNG import volumes and a complete halt of Russian gas deliveries via pipelines to Europe, a new extensive filling of the gas storage facilities is possible before the winter of 2023/24,” reads a press release from INES. However, the current moderate to high import volumes of liquefied natural gas (LNG) as well as efforts to save gas would have to continue.
Germany’s coal and nuclear power exit will not lead to electricity shortage – grid agency
Germany will not experience an electricity shortage as a result of an exit from coal and nuclear power generation if it rolls out renewables as planned, even if the country’s power consumption rises due to heat pumps, electric cars, and hydrogen electrolysers, the country’s grid agency (BNetzA) said in a preview to the period 2025 to 2031, according to a summary provided by the economy and climate ministry (BMWK). “The results show: security of supply is also guaranteed in the future, even if electricity consumption increases significantly, the nuclear power plants are shut down and coal is phased out by 2030,” the summary seen by Clean Energy Wire stated. “Until 2031, demand in Germany can be met by the market in all hours of the year,” the summary continued.
Germany intensifies energy transition cooperation with Norway and Portugal
Germany plans to intensify its international cooperation on the energy transition with Norway and Portugal in a bid to diversify fossil fuel imports, with government ministers visiting both countries this week. On his trip to Norway, economy minister Robert Habeck hopes to sign a joint declaration to enable significant hydrogen imports into Germany within the current decade. This would involve the construction of a hydrogen pipeline from Norway, with the aim of importing green hydrogen in the medium term. Cooperation with Portugal on climate and energy issues, as well as environmental protection, should also be strengthened, foreign minister Annalena Baerbock announced ahead of her visit to the country.
Transport minister launches fresh call to extend lifespan of German nuclear power plants
German transport minister Volker Wissing has triggered a fresh debate over the government decision to switch off the country’s remaining nuclear plants in mid-April. In an interview with Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Wissing called to extent the lifespan of nuclear power plants, arguing nuclear power would help lower emissions in the transport sector because it can be used to charge electric cars. Wissing proposed to transfer the decision to an independent expert commission to avoid political discussions. “We don't need a political argument or dogmatism right now," he said. "If we don't want to discuss it politically, then we have to clarify it scientifically.”
First U.S. LNG shipment arrives in German port
Germany’s first full cargo of LNG reached the import terminal in Wilhelmshaven on 3 January, energy company Uniper said. The ship Maria Energy was loaded with approximately 170,000 cubic metres of LNG at the Calcasieu Pass export facility of LNG supplier Venture Global in the U.S. state of Louisiana – enough to supply around 50,000 German households with energy for one year, Uniper said. The LNG cargo forms part of the commissioning process at the Wilhelmshaven terminal. Commercial operations there are expected to start in mid-January 2023
German finance minister calls for lifting fracking ban
Germany’s finance minister Christian Lindner has renewed his call for allowing the controversial fracking technology to increase gas supplies. “The ban should be lifted,” the head of the Free Democrats (FDP) told tabloid Bild am Sonntag. “Then private investors can decide whether extraction is economical. Compared to gas from other regions of the world, I expect competitive advantages.” Lindner said that liquefied natural gas (LNG) imports are more expensive than Russian pipeline gas for logistical reasons, adding the price level will remain higher. Lindner’s position is in marked contrast to that of his coalition partners, the Social Democrats (SPD) and the Greens. Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) and Green economy minister Robert Habeck have repeatedly rejected the technology.
State ministry grants test operation approval for private LNG floating terminal
The private floating LNG terminal in Lubmin has been granted approval to feed gas into the German grid, at least during test operations, the environment ministry in northern state Vorpommern announced. The terminal, where floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU) “Neptune” is based, can now begin its test phase with floating storage unit (FSU) “Seapeak Hispania” arriving off the island of Rügen with the first cargo of LNG on 21 December. While Deutsche ReGas, which operates the terminal, had originally planned to begin operations in early December, necessary permits still needed to be obtained. The terminal in the port of Lubmin “involves highly complex technical processes that have to be tested before continuous operation,” state climate protection minister Till Backhaus said. Results from this test, which would determine final approval, are expected in January 2023.
First direct LNG flows into German gas grid
The first floating vessel allowed to import LNG into Germany has started feeding gas into the country’s grid, terminal operator Uniper announced as reported by Deutsche Welle. The floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU) “Hoegh Esperanza” – which collects LNG from tankers and regasifies it before feeding it to the pipelines on land – arrived in the port of Wilhelmshaven on 15 December loaded with around 165,000 cubic metres of LNG. After its original inauguration on 17 December, gas flowed into the newly built connection pipeline in the morning of 21 December for the first time, beginning with a test phase which is set to be completed by the end of February.
Parliament approves gas and power subsidies
Germany's gas and electricity price subsidies to support consumers amid the energy crisis have been approved by parliament. The price caps form the centrepiece of Germany’s 200-billion-euro “defence shield.” They will take effect on 1 March 2023, but also retroactively cover January and February. The subsidies will remain in place for at least the entire year, and are supplemented by a hardship fund for people using oil or wood pellets for heating. The government’s support measure is based on recommendations by an expert council and will help households and businesses by putting a ceiling on gas and electricity prices that covers 80 percent of an average consumption level.
Cold snap drains German gas storages one percent in a single day
The cold snap that has gripped large parts of Europe since early December is taking its toll on gas storages in Germany, which were filled to roughly 100 percent capacity at the beginning of the month. During a prolonged period of temperatures well below zero degrees Celsius, German gas storages lost one percent of their filling volume on Monday, 12 December alone, said Klaus Müller, head of the country’s Federal Network Agency (BNetzA). Müller reiterated calls by the government to curb gas consumption and heating despite the cold weather. “Please be careful with your gas consumption,” Müller said, adding that a storage depletion of one percent per day should remain an “exception.”
Ministry paper says Germany could be headed for LNG import overcapacity
Germany’s economy ministry expects a significant import overcapacity if all planned floating and fixed onshore liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals are implemented as planned. The “capacity of the available FSRUs (Floating Storage and Regasification Units) as well as the land-based terminals would exceed the level of the 2021 gas import volumes from Russia,” said an internal note.
Construction of Europe’s first hydrogen pipeline network to begin in Germany
Construction of Germany’s and also Europe’s first network of hydrogen pipelines are set to start this week in the country’s east, the federal economy ministry and its counterpart in the state of Saxony have said. The Leipzig-based company Ontras plans to construct a pipeline grid with a length of over 900 kilometres by 2030, mostly by retrofitting existing natural gas transport infrastructure.
German grid regulator to take into account company saving efforts in case of gas rationing
In preparation for a possible – if unlikely – severe shortage of natural gas supply during winter, the Federal Network Agency (BNetzA) has decided it will take into account companies’ past savings efforts when rationing the scarce supply. Should the government declare the emergency level in case of a severe disruption of supply, the BNetzA becomes the national supply coordinator (Bundeslastverteiler) responsible for allocating gas in close coordination with the network operators. In case it has to oversee the rationing of available supplies, BNetzA said there was no fixed shutdown sequence for gas consumers.
Need for supply security drives acceptance of renewables in Germany – survey
A need for energy supply security has increased acceptance in the German population towards the expansion of renewables, a survey by the Renewable Energies Agency (AEE) found. According to the annual ‘Acceptance Survey,' 85 percent of the population are in favour of ramping up renewables, an increase of two percentage points compared to 2021, especially against the backdrop of energy supply security and dependencies on autocratic states and inflation.
Likelihood of gas shortage in Germany decreases further – storage operators
Germany will get through winter with its gas supply and the likelihood of a severe shortage has decreased further due to savings efforts, said the country’s gas storage operator association INES. However, extremely low temperatures could change this outlook, as much of the fuel is used for heating. “In the highly unlikely, but not entirely ruled out, event of a gas shortage, government action should be aimed at preventing the rapid depletion of storage facilities in order to secure the supply of vital needs,” INES head Sebastian Bleschke said.
German state “de facto speculator” on gas markets in efforts to fill storages
The German state acted as a “de facto speculator” by supplying state funds and instructing Trading Hub Europe (THE) earlier this year to buy gas to fill the country’s storages quickly, because THE then"acted like an energy market amateur," energy economist Lion Hirth said. THE is a subsidiary of the country's gas network operators and is responsible for the gas market in Germany.
Poland and Germany set to cooperate closer on oil supply security
Germany and Poland have signed a memorandum of understanding to deepen their cooperation on oil supply security and to protect refineries in both countries, the German economy and climate ministry (BMWK) announced. The joint declaration was signed by German minister Robert Habeck and Polish Minister of Climate and Environment Anna Moskwa, and aims to safeguard the operation of the Polish refineries in Gdańsk and Płock and the east German refineries in Schwedt and Leuna so that both countries are supplied with sufficient amounts of crude oil.
Tumultuous first year for Germany's government may start energy transition push
One year after taking over Germany’s government, chancellor Olaf Scholz’s “traffic light” coalition looks back at some turbulent first twelve months in office that were overshadowed by Russia’s attack on Ukraine and the subsequent energy crisis. The coalition government that promised to make climate action a centrepiece of its work found itself bolstering Germany’s fossil fuel supply and preparing the country for an unprecedented hike in energy costs. But beyond its immediate crisis response that so far managed to avoid the worst outcomes for industry and households, the administration has sought to make the best out of the new situation and use the fossil energy shortage as an opportunity to get the country ready for a cleaner and less vulnerable energy system.
Long-term Qatar LNG deal “good message for Germany's energy security” – chancellor Scholz
Chancellor Olaf Scholz has welcomed two contracts that are set to supply Germany with liquefied natural gas (LNG) for a duration of at least 15 years. “They are long-term agreements; that is also the good message for Germany's energy security,” Scholz said at a press conference. QatarEnergy and ConocoPhillips signed two sales and purchase agreements to export 2 million tonnes of LNG annually to Germany from 2026.
Keeping industry in Germany a central challenge for 2023 – economy minister
Challenges such as high energy prices, lowered competitiveness, skilled worker shortages or the high need for investment threaten to push industry investments away from Germany, but the country will commit itself to remaining a strong industrial location also in the future, economy minister Robert Habeck said at the 2022 Industry Conference. The industry sector plays a central role in the transformation towards a climate-neutral, digital and resilient economy, the Green-party minister said.
Government approves price cap for gas and electricity
In a bid to shield households and businesses from the drastic increase in energy prices, Germany’s government has approved a draft law to cap the price of electricity and gas by granting customers a fixed volume of supplies at reduced rates. The “price brakes” devised by the economy and climate as well as the finance ministry will become effective in March 2023, but will also retroactively cover higher costs in January and February. The caps will remain in place until at least April 2024.
Bavaria eyes gas and green hydrogen supplies through new pipeline from Croatia
Croatia could become an important gas supplier for the southern German state of Bavaria by providing liquefied natural gas (LNG) and also hydrogen to the economic powerhouse state. “Bavaria is looking for its energy of the future,” state premier Markus Söder said during a visit to Krk , Croatia’s northernmost island in the Mediterranean. Accompanied by Austria’s chancellor Karl Nehammer and Croatia’s prime minister Andrej Plenkovic, Söder said receiving gas supplies from the southeastern European nation would not only make landlocked Bavaria more independent from Russia but also “more independent from the North.” Coastal states in northern Germany have become the country’s most important entry points for gas, currently from countries like the Netherlands and Norway, as well as planned LNG shipments in newly constructed shipping terminals.
IEA head Birol calls on Germany to preserve European unity during energy crisis
Germany should ensure there is solidarity in Europe to get through the energy crisis and be prepared for the winter 2023/24, International Energy Agency (IEA) head Fatih Birol said. “Europe needs to prepare today for next year,” he said during a presentation of the IEA's World Energy Outlook, adding that a joint European response to the crisis will make it less severe than if each nation went on its own.
First LNG regasification ship arrives in Germany
The first ship designed to convert liquefied natural gas (LNG) back to gaseous state has arrived in Germany, Deutsche ReGas, the company developing the country's Baltic Sea LNG terminal, announced. The specialised ship – a floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU) – could be operational by 1 December from a technical standpoint, but some permits are still outstanding.
Ukraine war pushes Germans’ acceptance of wind turbines to record level – survey
Onshore wind power has become more popular than ever among people living in Germany as a result of the war in Ukraine, a poll has found. One in three respondents said Russia's war and Germany's previous dependence on energy imports from Russia have made the expansion of onshore wind energy "more important than before."
German plans for gas and power price cap put decarbonisation at risk - energy industry
The gas and electricity “price brakes” that Germany’s government plans to finance with scooping up windfall profits made by power producers during the energy crisis endanger the country’s decarbonisation targets, energy industry groups have warned. The draft plan tabled by the economy and climate ministry risked to “pull the rug” from under renewable power investors’ feet and “intentionally and without any need threatens the energy transition’s achievements,” said Simone Peter, head of renewable power lobby group BEE.
Heating costs to rise by 1,000 euros for German homeowners even after deducting state support
Homeowners with gas heaters in Germany on average will be paying about 1,000 euros more for heating energy this year, even after state measures to reduce bills have been accounted for, energy non-profit consultancy co2online said.
Large-scale electricity blackouts in Germany “extremely unlikely” this winter - civil protection office
The likelihood of power blackouts in Germany this coming winter is low, the Federal Office for Civil Protection and Disaster Assistance (BBK) has said. “A large-scale power blackout in Germany is extremely unlikely” and it is also “considered unlikely that targeted power cuts will occur regionally and for limited periods of time,” the agency said.
Winter gas shortage in Germany has become “highly unlikely” – storage operators
A major gas shortage in Germany during the coming winter has become “highly unlikely,” according to the country’s gas storage operator association INES. In a review of supply scenarios for the winter 2022/2023, INES found that a shortage of natural gas is not to be expected unless the country will be hit by “extremely” low temperatures.
Intensified energy cooperation between Poland and Germany aimed at increasing mutual trust
Poland and Germany have agreed to intensify their cooperation on energy policy through joint projects on energy efficiency, renewables, infrastructure and the energy market design. “The energy transition cannot work without European collaboration,” said the two countries’ energy agencies, Germany's dena and Poland's KAPE. While Germany and Poland already trade energy at a large scale and cooperate on the energy transition at many levels, from small local initiatives to the broader EU framework, energy policy has often been a source of disputes between the governments in Warsaw and Berlin. Poland has been among the most vocal critics of Germany’s former intensive energy trading partnership with Russia, and was one of the staunchest opponents of the contentious Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline.
One in ten German companies face insolvency risk from energy crisis – analysis
Ten percent of German companies are currently at increased risk of insolvency due to the effects of the energy crisis and supply chain problems, according to an analysis by credit information provider CRIF, which forecasts that insolvencies will rise this year and next. "High energy costs, existing problems in supply chains and inflation are causing problems for many companies,” said CRIF Germany managing director Frank Schlein.
Germany finishes construction of first floating LNG terminal
The first jetty for arrival of liquefied natural gas (LNG) has been completed in northern German Wilhelmshaven, with the first delivery set to arrive in mid-January 2023. The jetty will allow the mooring of a special ship – a floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU) – that collects the liquefied gas from tankers and regassifies it before feeding it to the pipelines on land
Government nationalises former Gazprom subsidiary in bid to secure gas supply
The German government has nationalised energy company Securing Energy for Europe GmbH (SEFE), formerly Gazprom Germania, in a bid to secure gas supply to the country. SEFE, which according to the European Commission has a 14 percent share of Germany’s gas supply market and owns and operates 28 percent of gas storage capacity in the country, was under threat of insolvency following Russia's invasion of Ukraine and the subsequent interruption of gas supplies.
Germany plans additional 550 million euros for green hydrogen cooperation
The German government is setting up two new funds with a total of 550 million euros to support the development of the global hydrogen economy through cooperation, especially with emerging and developing countries. The development ministry will make available 250 million euros for the PtX Development Fund, which will promote hydrogen investments in these countries.
Mild winter forecast sparks hope for avoiding gas shortage in Germany, economists remain wary
The projection of a mild winter in Europe is spurring hopes that Germany can avert a severe gas shortage in the next months. “Germany’s heating energy consumption is mainly determined by outside temperatures,” the BNetzA said. According to calculations by meteorological service DWD , the winter in 2022/2023 could be among the warmest since 1991, with an average temperature of at least 2 degrees Celsius, more than 0.5°C above the reference period’s average.
But economists from research institute ZEW warned against complacency: “The worst-case-scenario must not be forgotten,” despite Germany having full gas storages at the moment, the institute said. ZEW urged the government to take preliminary steps to avoid a “collapse” of the country’s gas market due to a supply shortage.
French and German politicians and business leaders assure sound cooperation on energy and climate
Politicians and business representatives from France and Germany have stressed the need for a sound and extensive cooperation of the two key EU members to maintain progress on climate action, the energy transition, and safeguarding European unity. Following weeks of reports about quarrels and disagreements between the governments in Berlin and Paris, members of parliament of both countries at an annual bilateral meeting earlier this week assured that Franco-German cooperation is intact amid the energy crisis and the ongoing war by Russia in Ukraine.
Bavaria to invest 500 million euros in hydrogen and green energy projects
The southern German state of Bavaria is set to invest 500 million euros in renewable energy and hydrogen production projects, the state’s economy minister, Hubert Aiwanger (Free Voters). As decided by the council of ministers, the money has been earmarked to promote the expansion of hydrogen, wind power, photovoltaics (PV), geothermal energy and biomass projects. Aiwanger said this is an “important investment in Bavaria’s future,” adding that the “massive investments” would accelerate the expansion of renewables in the state, thus sending a clear signal in tackling climate change and curbing the rise in energy prices.
Egypt’s green hydrogen plans met with keen interest by German industry
Plans by Egypt’s government and other governments in the region to make northern Africa and the Middle East (MENA) a major exporter of green hydrogen raise hopes within the German industry to find a reliable long-term replacement for fossil gas from Russia. If all projects are implemented, the country could produce up to 3.6 million tonnes of green hydrogen per year, more than a third of what the European Union plans to import by 2030.
Replacing Russian gas could cost Germany 46 billion euros
Germany’s government expects that substituting Russian gas could cost the country some €46 billion, reports Bloomberg following a parliamentary report. According to the news agency, the figure largely depends on the development of gas prices, and the timeframe referred to in the report isn’t specified. Germany has been forced to find alternatives to Russian gas since imports were reduced earlier this year and then completely cut in September. The country has ramped the building of liquefied natural gas (LNG) infrastructure and hurried to purchase the fossil fuel from countries including the US, Qatar, Algeria and other parts of Africa.
Uniper reports record 40 billion euro net loss
Former largest German importer of Russian gas, Uniper, has reported a net loss of around 40 billion euros for the first nine months of the current financial year – one of the biggest losses in corporate history, news agency Reuters reports. Ten billion euros of realised losses were incurred by being forced to buy gas at much higher rates on the spot market than what the company paid Russia under long-term contracts, according to Reuters. The German government agreed to acquire a 99% stake in the gas importer at the end of September. The transaction is set to be approved in December.
German LNG terminal could be in operation before Christmas – Uniper
Germany’s first liquefied natural gas (LNG) import terminal could be in operation in Wilhelmshaven before the end of this year. “If everything goes well, [the] Wilhelmshaven [terminal] will be ready before Christmas,” Uniper CEO Klaus-Dieter Maubach told news magazine Spiegel. “However, everything depends on the weather.” Finance minister Christian Lindner welcomed the news in a message on Twitter. “As many as 3 LNG terminals in Germany could be completed by the end of the year. This is good news for our energy supply. And it shows: With the LNG Acceleration Act, we have created a blueprint for the planning and construction of infrastructure projects.”
Germany not relying on “technical availability” of Nord Stream 2 pipeline
Contrary to Russian president Putin’s allegations that the “taps can be turned on” on one of Nord Stream 2’s pipeline strings, the German government isn’t counting on the technical availability of the pipeline following the September explosions. Additionally, the government pointed out that the pipeline lacks the necessary safety certification to operate.
Majority of EU citizens say energy crisis should make countries speed up transition
A majority of European Union citizens (66%) say that the war against Ukraine and its impact on the price of oil and gas should lead the bloc to speed up the green transition by reducing the consumption of fossil fuels, a survey conducted by the European Investment Bank (EIB) shows. For Germany, however, this is true for only 54 percent of respondents, putting the country near the bottom of the EU ranking. The remaining 46 percent agreed with the statement that the bloc should “slow down the green transition to secure energy availability in the short term.”
Gas crisis can be overcome with climate targets in mind
It is possible to ensure the efficient use of liquefied natural gas (LNG) as a transitional solution in Germany over the coming winter and beyond without losing sight of the climate protection targets, a report with policy recommendations by the Federal Environment Agency (UBA) suggests. Policy recommendations include optimising the use of Europe’s gas pipeline infrastructure; ensuring the hydrogen capability of LNG terminals; and diversifying supplier countries in the most climate friendly way possible.
Solar industry says plans to skim off PV windfall profits could “poison investment climate”
Plans by the German government to "retroactively or disproportionately" skim off windfall revenues of the photovoltaic (PV) industry could lead to a market collapse, said the German Solar Industry Association (BSW). Investments in the PV industry could falter following the economy ministry’s proposal to fund the so-called "power price break" by skimming off windfall profits from electricity producers, which could be retroactively applied up to March 2022, BSW says.
Energy industry says German gas price relief plans cannot be brought forward
Energy industry association BDEW has rejected calls by German state premiers to introduce the national “gas price brake” – a planned measure to keep rising gas prices in check – months earlier than initially proposed by an expert commission earlier this month. “Bringing forward the gas price brake to 1 January 2023 is going to fail not because of a lack of will on the part of the energy industry, but because of the impossibility of technical-administrative implementation in such a short period of time,” BDEW president Marie-Luise Wolff said. The necessary conversion of the IT processes was very complex, so that most energy suppliers could not cope with it at short notice.
Protesters in Germany call for greater social solidarity in energy crisis
Several thousand people took to the streets across Germany on 22 October to demand solidarity and redistribution in the energy crisis, news agency dpa reported. With the motto “Solidarity autumn: Create social security, accelerate the energy transition,” the initiators called for targeted assistance for people with little money, higher taxes for the rich and a more consistent energy turnaround. “The coming winter is about keeping society from falling apart and at the same time setting the course for climate policy,” the organisers said in a joint statement. “Solidarity is needed within society, between generations as well as with Ukraine.”
Russia’s war makes raw material supply strategy imperative for Germany – industry
The need for a raw material supply strategy for Germany’s industry has become more pressing than ever since Russia has started using resources as a weapon in its war effort against Ukraine, the Federation of German Industries (BDI) has said. “Germany can be blackmailed,” BDI president Siegfried Russwurm commented on the current resource predicament for the country, which has seen its most important fossil fuel supplier break away and which now faces a shortage of key raw materials needed for its transition towards an energy system fully based on renewable power sources. “Contrary to oil and gas, there are no national reserves for critical mineral resources,” Russwurm warned at an industry summit in Berlin, arguing that the “Zeitenwende,” the tidal change in Germany’s geostrategic policy, must also include a greater focus on securing resources.
Spain’s turnaround on Pyrenees gas pipeline project upsets Germany’s supply plans
The announcement by Spain, Portugal and France to pull the plug on the MidCat gas pipeline project across the Pyrenees comes as a “disappointment” for Germany’s government, which had hoped to unlock a new gas source with the pipeline envisioned to connect the Iberian Peninsula’s gas grid with the rest of Europe, Süddeutsche Zeitung reported. The Spanish, Portuguese and French government said they have given up on the Pyrenees pipeline and instead aim to build a “green energy corridor” through the Mediterranean Sea between Barcelona and Marseille that could also transport hydrogen as a more climate-friendly alternative to natural gas.
Germany must cut gas use by 30 percent to avoid shortages and ensure energy sovereignty – report
Germany can implement ambitious climate action and at the same time strive for long-term energy sovereignty as it attempts to find a way out of the current energy crisis, said researchers from Ariadne, a government-funded alliance of more than 25 research institutes. Energy saving is key to this, especially in the short term, they said. After Russia stopped deliveries to Germany, the researchers project that the country will have about 600 terawatt hours (TWh) of gas annually through imports from reliable suppliers and domestic production in the coming years. That means it will have to reduce consumption by 30 percent compared to pre-crisis years. In principle, the gas saving potentials in the relevant sectors are sufficient, but Germany needs a “clear trend reversal” in the energy and buildings sectors to ensure that the theoretical savings potential is actually used, the researchers said.
German government plans to fund power price brake with windfall profit tax
The German government plans to introduce a power price brake that will grant electricity consumers a lower price for a fixed share of their estimated use in 2021, a presentation prepared by the chancellery and seen by Clean Energy Wire showed. The measure will be financed with taxes retroactively applied to windfall profits in the energy sector. The exact share of power consumption at reduced rates has not been determined yet, but the government plans to design the power price brake on the blueprint of the existing gas price brake, which caps prices for 80 percent of the previous year's consumption. According to the chancellery paper, the tax will apply to 90 percent of the so-called “coincidental profits” energy producers have amassed since the beginning of Europe’s energy crisis fuelled by Russia’s war on Ukraine.
German chancellor decides runtime extension for all remaining nuclear plants, ending coalition row
Chancellor Olaf Scholz has said his government would pave the way for prolonging the runtime of all three of Germany’s remaining reactors until April 2023. The German leader thus intervened to settle a dispute about the delayed end of nuclear power in the country which has kept his coalition government in conflict for several months. The decision was made in light of the European energy crisis and went further than an earlier proposal by the country’s economy ministry for just two of the plants. However, the chancellor’s decision means the nuclear exit will not be changed in principle and no new fuel rods will be purchased, thus ending nuclear power in Germany by April next year. The limited runtime extension – which still needs approval by parliament – is seen as a compromise for his coalition partners, the Green Party and the pro-business FDP, made ahead of what is expected to become a difficult winter for Germany’s and Europe's energy supply.
Local utilities call on German govt for support as “situation continues to worsen”
A broad alliance of German regional and municipal energy suppliers has jointly called for a protective shield against soaring energy prices and requested a special conference of federal and state finance ministers, claiming the “situation continues to worsen” for many of them. “If local energy suppliers get into existential difficulties, it would create a threatening chain reaction and the failure of system-relevant structures for the entire municipality,” the energy industry groups said in a joint statement. Energy suppliers see themselves less and less in a position to ensure the longer-term commercial activity in view of the current enormous price development in the energy markets, according to the press release.
Energy crisis especially severe for Germany, 2023 possibly “even harder” – IMF
Germany’s economy will take a bigger hit from the energy crisis compared to other European countries, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), business daily Handelsblatt reports. According to IMF estimates, the crisis will continue past this winter and might see the German economy shrink by 0.3 percent next year. “This winter will be hard, but the winter in 2023 could be even harder. The energy crisis won’t go away quickly, and energy prices will remain high for a long time,” IWF vice president Gita Gopinath told Handelsblatt in an interview, adding that inflation is higher than it has been in decades and everything possible should be done to lower it.
Far-right AfD gains popularity amidst energy crisis and recession fears, show polls
After a long period of stagnation, the far-right political party Alternative for Germany (AfD) is regaining popularity, as rising costs resulting from the energy crisis start to take a toll on German households and businesses, newspaper Welt reports. The party has positioned itself as the spearhead of protest against soaring energy prices and seems to have found a second life with this thematic swing, the newspaper says. Polls show overall support for the party has gone up across Germany to 15 percent, with strategic research company pollytix reporting a steady increase in national support since July.
Germany continues coal exit auctions amid energy crisis
The sixth tender for early shutdowns of hard coal plants in Germany was undersubscribed and only one plant was successful, the Federal Network Agency (BNetzA) has said. As part of its plan to end coal-fired power generation by 2038 at the latest, Germany had introduced auctions for operators to receive remuneration for shutting their plants down early. Despite efforts to extend the operation of coal power plants in the short term to help Germany secure its power supply in the face of the energy crisis, the country continues to hold the auctions. “Despite the current difficult situation on the energy markets, the long-term goal remains to gradually reduce and end coal-fired power generation in Germany,” said BNetzA head Klaus Müller.
Germany reaches 95% gas storage target early
Germany has reached its target to fill gas storages to 95 percent two weeks ahead of the 1 November deadline, the economy ministry (BMWK) announced. “The well-filled storage facilities will help us in winter but the storage facilities alone are not enough,” Klaus Müller, president of energy regulator BNetzA, told Bloomberg. “The gas in the storage facilities is enough for about two cold winter months.” The fuel held in giant caverns and tanks helps absorb supply swings and provides 25% to 30% of Europe’s winter consumption, writes the news agency.
Industry and household savings reduce German gas consumption
High prices and possibly also pleas by the government are driving down gas consumption in Germany, reports Jakob Schlandt in energy and climate newsletter Tagesspiegel Background. Most recent data by the Federal Network Agency (BNetzA) show that gas use by households and other small-scale consumers in the week 3-9 October was almost 30 percent below the average of the same week in the previous four years. “This is good news. Let’s keep going,” said BNetzA head Klaus Müller on Twitter. However, direct comparison is difficult, because most gas is used for heating and temperatures for the week were higher this year, resulting in lower gas use. Thus, pure consumption data is insufficient to assess energy saving efforts by the population.
Germany still in the dark about LNG supplies to its new terminals
While Germany is building up an infrastructure to receive liquefied natural gas (LNG) at its North and Baltic Sea coasts in record time, there continues to be uncertainty about where the supplies will come from, reports Nora Marie Zaremba in Tagesspiegel Background. In the reply to a parliamentary inquiry by the opposition party CDU, seen by Tagesspiegel, the economy ministry said that there was a memorandum of understanding with energy companies RWE, Uniper and EnBW about supplying two new floating LNG terminals from this winter. However, the selection of the suppliers as well as the conclusion of the contracts to fulfil these obligations will be the responsibility of the companies themselves, writes the ministry. “The Federal Government therefore has no knowledge of the origin of the LNG to be landed in Brunsbüttel and Wilhelmshaven from next winter,” the government wrote.
Energy crisis to push Germany into recession in 2023, warns government
The European energy crisis is set to push Germany into a recession in 2023, as rising energy prices put a damper on industrial production and inflation means citizens will buy less, said the economy ministry in its autumn projection for the country’s economic development. “We are currently experiencing a severe energy crisis that is increasingly turning into an economic and social crisis,” said economy minister Robert Habeck. The minister called for massive investments into climate neutrality and structural reforms like speeding up planning procedures as key ways to get out of the crisis.
Government agreement on German nuclear plant runtime extension plans delayed
The German coalition government hasn’t been able to come to an agreement over the economy minister’s proposed runtime extension scheme for two of the country’s three remaining nuclear power plants. Laws need to be changed to keep the nuclear power plants on the grid past 2022, yet the coalition government – formed by the SPD, the Green Party and the FDP – let a deadline for a decision planned for 10 October slip, the economy ministry told news agency AFP. “This delay is a problem if you want Isar 2 to still be producing electricity in 2023,” the ministry said. The plant needs urgent repair work to prolong operations. The reason for the delay is a conflict mainly between the Greens and the FDP, with the later demanding that nuclear power plants be allowed to run significantly longer because of the current energy crisis.
Germany to continue push for 1.5°C goal amid energy crisis – foreign min Baerbock
Germany aims to keep the Paris Climate Agreement target of limiting global warming to 1.5°C within reach, even as the energy crisis in Europe puts a focus on fossil fuels in the short term, said foreign minister Annalena Baerbock at the Berlin Climate and Security Conference. “Russia’s war against Ukraine and its attacks on European energy security have not weakened our resolved push for the 1.5° goal – on the contrary,” said Baerbock. While the country has, for example, revived coal power plants to ensure supply security, this is only be for a limited period of time, and the government is doubling down on energy efficiency and renewables at the same time, she added.
Expert commission proposes gas price relief of 90 billion euros by 2024 for German consumers
The German state should support households and businesses with about 90 billion euros by early 2024 to lower gas bills, said an expert commission charged by the government with drawing up a plan to relieve gas consumers affected by rising prices. In their interim report, the representatives from industry, research and labour unions propose a one-off payment this year, and subsidies for a basic volume for gas use for both small and large consumers starting next year. Several researchers and associations criticised that the proposals are focussed on short term relief and might not incentivise sufficient energy savings. The proposals now have to be debated by the government and parliament.
German coal region brings phase-out forward to 2030 but refires lignite short-term
Germany's western coal mining and heavy industry state North Rhine-Westphalia aims to complete the phase-out of coal-fired power production no later than 2030, eight years earlier than agreed in German coal exit law. However, two lignite plants in the state that were supposed to go off the grid this year will remain in operation until 2024 to provide additional power production capacity amid the current energy crisis, the German government announced in a joint statement with energy company RWE. The move was criticised by climate activist group Fridays for Future, while the coal worker union called for socially responsible structural change.
Germany agrees 200-billion euro ‘defence shield’ against soaring energy prices
The German government has agreed on a relief package worth up to 200 billion euros to fight soaring energy prices. “Prices must go down – that’s our conviction, and the government will do anything to achieve that,” said chancellor Olaf Scholz announcing what he called a “defence shield.” Industry, economists, and environmentalists welcomed the measure, which is mainly designed to lower gas prices, but warned the subsidies must not remove incentives to save energy. Utilities and NGOs also called for speeding up the rollout of renewables in order to address what they called the root cause of the crisis: The country’s dependency on fossil fuels.
Temporary VAT reduction on gas greenlighted in parliament
The value added tax (VAT) rate on natural gas in Germany will be temporarily reduced from 19 to 7 percent in order to reduce the financial burden on consumers, the country’s parliamentary financial committee has decided. The VAT reduction was proposed by the government coalition parties together with the conservative CDU/CSU opposition and will remain in place until spring 2024. Heating energy derived from other energy carriers, such as oil or biogas, will not be included in the tax reduction. The measure is expected to cost the state some 11 billion euros. On top of this, additional wage premiums by employers to counter rising inflation will be exempt from tax and social security expenses for payments up to 3,000 euros until the end of 2024.
Lignite plants allowed to return to market, hard coal plant grid reserve extended
Germany’s government has adopted new regulations allowing for a market return of retired lignite plants by October and the extension of a grid reserve for one additional year. Lignite plants with a total capacity of 1.9 gigawatts that are currently in a so-called supply reserve can return to the market next month. According to the economy ministry, the operators are preparing for a market return of all power plants – however, a decision on the specific time of the market return is up to the companies. “The actual date of market return also depends on when the maintenance work, some of which is still ongoing, can be finalised,” the ministry said. The grid reserve, which mostly consists of hard coal plants, will be extended by one year to March 2024. The regulations are aimed at replacing gas-fired power plants with coal plants so that gas can be saved for other purposes in which alternative energy sources are more difficult to provide.
Leaks in both Nord Stream gas pipelines put European authorities on alert
Authorities in Germany, Sweden and Denmark are investigating a sudden drop of pressure in the two offshore Nord Stream 1 and 2 gas pipelines that connect Germany with Russia through the Baltic Sea. “We’re in contact with the affected authorities and the federal grid agency (BNetzA) to clarify the situation,” a spokesperson for the economy and climate ministry (BMWK) said. According to energy policy newsletter Tagesspiegel Background, German authorities suspect a targeted attack may have been carried out, as both pipelines were affected simultaneously. “Our phantasy does not allow a scenario in which this has not been a targeted attack,” a source close to the government told Tagesspiegel.
Pro-Russia protesters in Baltic coast town call for opening Nord Stream 2 pipeline
Protesters in the northeastern German town of Lubmin have called for the opening of the controversial gas pipeline Nord Stream 2 linking Germany to Russia. They argue that it will resolve the current supply crisis and cultivate friendlier relations with the government in Moscow. About 3,5000 people joined the protest in the town where the Baltic Sea offshore pipeline makes landfall in Germany. Many waved Russian flags and called on the German government to end sanctions on the country, public broadcaster NDR reported.
Cap on gas and power prices would cost 3.8 billion euros for every cent of reduction
Capping both gas and electricity prices in Germany would cost the state at least 3.8 billion euros for every cent per kilowatt hour (kWh) it pays instead of gas customers, the economy ministry has said in a response to a parliamentary inquiry by the Left Party, media network RND reported. Reducing the price for each kWh by one cent would cost 1.3 billion euros in the case of electricity, and 2.5 billion euros for gas, the economy ministry said.
US likely to become Europe’s most important LNG supplier – report
The US is set to become Europe’s largest supplier of liquefied natural gas (LNG) if gas imports from Russia are not available or remain limited in the coming years, according to a report by the Institute of Energy Economics (EWI) at the University of Cologne. “In all scenarios, LNG imports from the US increase compared to 2021 and reach a share of total EU imports of around 40 percent if no gas is traded between Russia and the EU,”
Workload in energy crisis starts taking toll on government workers – minister
Months of intensive work on emergency measures to contain the effects of Europe’s energy crisis on Germany have started to take a toll on government employees in the economy and climate ministry, minister Robert Habeck has said at an industry conference in Berlin. “These people also need to sleep and eat at some point,” Habeck said with a view to his ministry’s staff, who in the past nine months have prepared 20 new laws and 28 decrees. “I should recount how many laws the economy ministry has made in the last legislative period [lasting four years],” the minister said, adding he would guess it had been not nearly as many. He said lawmaking for departments like power market design would force specialized public servants to continuously adapt to the dynamic crisis situation. “I’m not joking here: People start to get sick. They are having a burnout, they get tinnitus. They’re done for.” The minister added “sprawling” EU regulation complicates swift reactions to the crisis, especially regarding state-aid laws as with the planned gas levy.
Government prepares takeover of Gazprom’s German subsidiary
The German subsidiary of Russia’s state-owned gas company Gazprom could soon become nationalised to allow the government full access to the gas importer's operations, media reports suggest. The former Gazprom Germania, rebranded SEFE (Securing Energy for Europe), had already been put under a trusteeship by Germany’s grid agency BNetzA. The economy ministry now weighs a full nationalisation to avert bankruptcy of the company, a move it already initiated for the country’s largest gas supplier, Uniper.
Germany nationalises largest gas importer to avert market collapse
Gas importer Uniper will be put under control of the German state after the company has accrued crushing losses over the past months due to skyrocketing gas prices resulting from Russia’s war on Ukraine. The German government provides some eight billion euros in additional capital to the country’s largest gas supplier and will take over 99 percent of its shares, replacing Finnish company Fortum as the majority owner. Economy minister Robert Habeck said the controversial gas levy Germany plans to impose on gas customers to save struggling importers and avoid a market collapse due to bankruptcies would go forward as planned, even though it remains unclear whether Uniper would still be allowed to benefit from it.
National gas storages reach filling level of 90 percent
Despite the suspension of gas deliveries from Russia at the end of August, German gas storage facilities are now more than 90 percent full, according to data published by European storage operators. Storage facilities in the country reached a level of nearly 91 percent last Sunday.
More LNG deals expected during Scholz's trip to Middle East
Chancellor Olaf Scholz is travelling to the Arabian Peninsula, where he is expected to seal more liquefied natural gas (LNG) delivery deals with fossil fuel exporters in the region. Economy minister Robert Habeck said Scholz would probably be siging a deal with the United Arab Emirates. The chancellor will also visit Saudi Arabia and Qatar during his trip.
Government seizes oil refineries of Russia's Rosneft
The German government has taken three refinieries of Russian oil company Rosneft under state control, the German grid agency BNetzA has said. The move that puts the refineries in eastern town Schwedt and two others in southern Germany under state trusteeship comes ahead of a partial European embargo on Russian oil. BNetzA said seizing the refineries would allow the government to take control of this crucial production step for the country's oil supply and to ensure that Russia no longer wields influence over the sector to obstruct energy security.
Ministries aim to push solar with tax breaks and PV “crisis tender”
The German government is introducing tax breaks for the operation of small-scale photovoltaic systems and removing other bureaucratic hurdles to speed up the rollout of renewables. The cabinet also approved a solar “crisis tender” with a total capacity of 1.5 gigawatts in January, where successful bidders must take their arrays online within nine months
First local utilities in struggle due to high power and gas prices
Some local utilities in Germany are seeking state support due to the high power and gas prices, thereby following leading gas importer Uniper’s request for a bail-out. Many utilities purchase their energy on a long-term basis and have hedged their prices, but the companies also procure a share of electricity and gas for their customers via short-term trading, which currently incurs very high prices. As customer contracts are often subject to fixed prices, suppliers cannot fully pass on the higher costs and are now facing liquidity problems.
Power price brake could be introduced before end of 2022
The German government aims to introduce a power price brake before the end of the year, economy minister Robert Habeck has said. The Green Party minister said the price brake would also take effect retroactively, meaning it will cover price rises that occurred before the law has been passed. Usually, legislation of this kind would take up to three years to be completed but now will be finalised in a matter of weeks, Habeck argued. If the price brake cannot be introduced as planned, the government would use gains from taxing windfall profits from companies to reallocate them to energy customers, he added.
Country’s third largest gas supplier seeks state aid to cushion losses
Major natural gas importer VNG has sought financial support from the German government to cushion the considerable losses it is making due to high gas market prices.
Govt prepares “wide” rescue programme for SMEs struggling with energy prices
The German government will expand state support for businesses faced with rising energy prices ahead of the coming winter, economy and climate minister Robert Habeck said in a speech in parliament. Germany would make support so far largely restricted to big and energy-intensive sectors also available to small- and medium-sized businesses (SMEs).
Econ min “astonished” by nuclear plant operator’s objection to emergency reserve
Economy and climate minister Robert Habeck has reacted with irritation to a German nuclear plant operator’s objection to his plans for putting two of the remaining reactors in the country into an emergency reserve for grid stability for the first months of 2023. Habeck said he had taken note of a letter submitted by PreussenElektra, a nuclear power subsidiary of energy company E.ON, “with some astonishment”. The operator company of the Isar 2 plant, in southern state Bavaria, had said Habeck’s emergency reserve plans are “technically unfeasible”.
Fears of severe damage to German industry loom as high energy prices hit firms
High energy prices are beginning to bite into companies’ investment plans and curtail production in Germany, raising the spectre of de-industrialisation in the country that boasts one of the largest industry sectors of all major economies, business newspaper Handelsblatt reported.
Ministry proposes to keep two of country’s remaining nuclear plants on standby during winter
Germany should keep two of its three remaining nuclear power plants on standby beyond the planned phase-out date at the end of the year to help secure power system stability in the coming winter if necessary, economy and climate minister Robert Habeck said. A long-awaited grid stress test finds that the two plants located in southern Germany could be of help in certain “very unlikely” emergency situations, meaning the plants should move into a reserve until April next year before they are permanently decommissioned, the minister said.
Germany's energy plans no longer count on Russian gas - econ min
Germany no longer counts on receiving gas from Russia after deliveries through the pipeline Nord Stream 1 have been suspended indefinitely by Russian supplier Gazprom. “Gas deliveries from Russia no longer play a role in my security considerations,” economy minister Habeck told journalists in Berlin.
Economy ministry says country prepared for permanent Nord Stream 1 shutdown
The announcement by Russia’s Gazprom to not resume deliveries through its Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline for an unspecified period of time comes as no surprise to the German government, which has already taken precautions for such a situation, the economy and climate ministry said. “We’ve already seen Russia’s unreliable behaviour in the past weeks and have taken corresponding steps to become more independent from Russian energy imports,” a spokesperson for the ministry said. The country would now be much better prepared for the coming winter than several months ago, as the gas storage target of 85 percent for October had almost been achieved already by early September. “We’re also making good progress with respect to supply routes other than Russian pipelines and with import infrastructure for liquefied natural gas (LNG).”
Rising prices and climate top worries in Germany, energy transition seen as solution
Rising energy and food prices and climate change top the list of main worries in Germany, several surveys have shown. Investing in renewables by a wide margin is seen as the best way to achieve energy independence from Russia by respondents to a survey conducted by More in Common in four large European countries (France, Germany, Poland and the UK). Another survey commissioned by Norwegian energy company Statkraft showed that the current crisis is a boost for the acceptance of the energy transition.
Import price for natural gas to Germany in July three times higher than last year
Energy imports to Germany cost 131.7 percent more in July 2022 than one year before. The 223.6 percent increase in the price of natural gas had the largest influence on the year-on-year rate, followed by that of crude oil with 64.7 percent. Hard coal was 260.8 percent more expensive. Electricity cost almost four times as much in July 2022 as it did a year earlier (+291.1%).
Germany “prepared” to get through winter – econ min Habeck
German leaders see the country well-equipped to get through the coming winter in the energy crisis. The government had initiated the necessary preparations to secure energy supply early on, economy and climate minister Robert Habeck says after a two-day cabinet retreat near the capital Berlin. “That’s why we have answers and progress that allows us to be prepared for the winter,” he says. Chancellor Olaf Scholz agrees that his government is doing what is needed. “We have taken very far-reaching decisions very quickly, the result of which is that one can say with all caution that we have probably set in motion what is necessary and can also set in motion further measures in order to get through this winter and also through next winter,” he says.
Gazprom stops deliveries through Nord Stream 1, citing 3-day maintenance period
As announced, Gazprom halts deliveries through Nord Stream 1 for a three-day maintenance period. European governments fear Moscow could extend the outage in retaliation for Western sanctions imposed after it invaded Ukraine and have accused Russia of using energy supplies as a "weapon of war", reports Reuters. Moscow denies doing this and has cited technical reasons for supply cuts.
Germany ponders new market design to decouple power price from gas price
The economy and climate ministry is pondering a new power market design for Germany that decouples electricity prices from gas prices in response to the current turmoil on energy markets exacerbated by Russia’s war on Ukraine. A ministry spokesperson said that a “groundbreaking reform” is being planned that would shield power customers from rising gas prices, as households and businesses alike increasingly use electricity-based solutions as alternatives to fossil-fuel powered technology.
Cash-strapped Uniper seeks more government funding
Financially troubled gas provider Uniper asks the German government for more financial help, raising the price of its bailout to 19 billion euros, Reuters reports. Soaring gas and electricity prices have left Germany’s largest importer of Russian gas in a precarious situation.
Government to revisit Germany's gas levy regulation amid wide criticism
Economy minister Habeck says the German government will revisit the recently adopted regulation to introduce a levy to help gas importers affected by supply cuts from Russia, amid growing criticism about well-off companies pocketing gas consumer money.
Germany introduces energy saving provisions as key relief runs out and higher prices loom
The German government introduces a package of energy saving provisions for businesses and state entities that will take effect in September, just as key relief measures run out and citizens are set to face higher prices for fuels and public transport.
"Sheer panic" more likely to push up European power prices than actual shortage - energy consultant
A seemingly perfect storm resulting not only from the war in Ukraine but also from the extreme drought in the entire Alpine region and low water levels in rivers France is shaking European electricity markets, generating panic and contributing to a volatile situation, says Mirko Schlossarczyk, partner at energy consulting company Enervis.
German econ min says limited extension of one single nuclear plant conceivable
Extending the runtime of Germany’s three remaining nuclear power plants will do very little to help the country weather the looming gas supply crisis, economy and climate minister Robert Habeck says. But extending the life of one of the plants, Isar 2 in Bavaria, to cushion the effects of a misguided energy policy in the southern state could be advisable, he says.
Nord Stream 1 pipeline to shut for three days in latest fuel blow to Europe
Russian energy giant Gazprom said it will halt natural gas supplies to Europe for three days at the end of the month via its main pipeline into the region for an unscheduled maintenance, reports Reuters. Gazprom said the shutdown was because Nord Stream 1's only remaining compressor requires maintenance. The shutdown, to run from 31 August to 2 September, follows a 10-day maintenance curtailment in July and will pose a further hurdle to the government's gas storage filling targets.
Germany reduces VAT on gas to relieve consumers
The German government will temporarily reduce the value added tax (VAT) on natural gas from 19 to 7 percent in a bid to relieve gas customers struggling with rapidly rising prices for the fossil fuel. “Rising energy prices are a great burden for many citizens,” said chancellor Olaf Scholz. The reduced VAT will be in place alongside the controversial levy on gas aimed at supporting struggling gas importers, which was recently agreed and will be in place until March 2024 at least. Ecnomists criticise the reduction is the opposite of what is needed as it is not targeted at people in need and reduces incentives to save gas.
Company gas cutoffs likely during “two hard winters ahead” – grid agency
Companies in certain parts of Germany will likely experience gas cutoffs next winter and the supply crisis is likely to also remain a problem during the 2023/2024 heating season, said the head of Germany’s federal network agency BNetzA, Klaus Müller. Even though the country has reached its first target for gas storage facilities to be 75 percent full by 1 September ahead of schedule, Müller said meeting the next targets (85 percent by 1 October and 95 percent by 1 November) would be much harder. “We are very unlikely to achieve this,” he said with reference to the 95 percent target. Bavaria’s ruling conservative Christian Social Union (CSU) accused the agency of actively discriminating certain regions of the country
Higher gas use in power generation highlights obstacles to savings
Power production with natural gas increased in Germany in May and July despite political pledges to minimise the fossil fuel’s use. Figures published by the German grid agency BnetzA show a year-on-year increase during these two months, while the share of natural gas in power production slightly dropped below last year’s level in June. The increase is attributed to "current difficulties with other energy carriers in Germany as well as in other countries that are connected with Germany’s power market,” especially France’s problems with its nuclear fleet.
German gas consumption down nearly 15 percent in first half of 2022
Germany consumed 14.7 percent less natural gas in the first sixth months of 2022 than in the corresponding period in the year before, preliminary figures released by the German Association of Energy and Water Industries (BDEW) show. While a warmer spring this year can partially explain this fall in gas use to 497 billion kilowatt hours, a drop of around 8 percent between the two periods remained even when figures were adapted to take the varying temperatures into consideration, the BDEW said.
Govt inks delivery deals for LNG terminals with supplier companies
The German government, along with energy companies Uniper, RWE and EnBW/VNG, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the supply of the floating liquified natural gas (LNG) terminals in Brunsbüttel and Wilhelmshaven. The move is meant to provide planning security for the supply and running of the floating storage and regasification units (FSRU), specifically designed ships that act as LNG terminals for the national gas grid. The FSRU are scheduled to be operated at full capacity immediately from the start of their use this following winter, and the signatory companies assured adequate supply volumes will be available. RWE and Uniper will be responsible for operations of the two terminals, on a transitional basis, until a specific entity can be assigned to take over. ENBW and its subsidiary VNG will supply the FSRU, meanwhile. “The MoU provides the necessary certainty that these FSRUs will be fully utilized for the next two winters and thus make a maximum contribution to security of supply in Germany and Europe," economy and climate minister Robert Habeck said.
New gas levy at set at 2.4 cents, sparking warnings about rising inflation
A new levy on natural gas use that is meant to save struggling importers from bankruptcy is going to further inflate already high bills of German consumers. The government argues the levy is needed to ensure the country’s gas market does not collapse amid the energy crisis driven by Russia’s war on Ukraine, but businesses and households could come under immense pressure to cope with further expenses, observers warn. Researchers found the levy that is scheduled to remain in place until 2024 could further speed up inflation and begin to bite with full effect once current relief measures for energy costs run out later this year.
Government renews call to brace for hard winter, introduces new gas saving measures
Leading members of the German government have renewed calls for perseverance and willingness to make sacrifices to beat the energy crisis, with the upcoming heating season set to drive up gas demand and exacerbate the crisis. “This year is laden with great challenges,” chancellor Olaf Scholz said in a video message. “Challenges that have been caused by the war that Russia unleashed on Ukraine,” he said, adding that these threaten Germany’s energy security and increase prices for everyone.
Economy and climate minister Robert Habeck said the government would introduce new energy saving measures to ensure gas storages are filled as planned. “The government remains steadfast in its policy to overcome dependence on Russian energy imports,” the Green Party politician said. Germany would have to reduce its gas consumption by about 20 percent, which would require a range of measures to curb consumption, Habeck argued. In the coming heating period, the maximum temperature in public buildings would be limited to 19 degrees Celsius and businesses are urged to follow suit.
Further gas supply cuts are “main risk” for German economy – econ min
The economic outlook for the second half of 2022 is worsening due to reduced gas deliveries, further increase in energy prices, continuing supply bottlenecks and a general increase in uncertainty, the German economy ministry said in its monthly report on the country's economy. “Above all, the reduced gas supplies from Russia are depressing sentiment and a further curtailment represents the main risk for future economic development,” the ministry warned.
EU countries will show solidarity in energy crunch – chancellor Scholz
German chancellor Olaf Scholz has said he is confident European Union member states will show solidarity in the energy crisis exacerbated by Russia’s war against Ukraine. “We have taken decisions to improve our energy supply and to ensure that we create European infrastructures that make mutual support easier,” Scholz told journalists at a press conference in Berlin. “That's why I'm sure that - if things get tight now - we will continue to show solidarity. Germany will in any case.”
First gas storage target almost reached weeks ahead of schedule
The filling of gas storages is on schedule in Germany despite the massive reduction in flows from Russia since June. Data released by European storage operators showed a filling level of 73.7 percent, just below the target of 75 percent set by the German government for 1 September, business daily Handelsblatt reported. Average daily filling stood at about 0.5 percent and filling levels are usually reported with a delay of two days. Further filling targets are 85 percent by 1 October and 95 percent by 1 December.
Higher gas prices threaten up to 300,000 jobs – researchers
Rising prices for energy and general inflation are considerably worsening Germany’s economic prospects and could potentially lead to hundreds of thousands of job losses, research institute IW has said. Energy prices in July stood 35 percent higher than last year’s, and if they continue to rise as expected it will cause a total inflation of nearly four percentage points next year, the IW warned. If gas prices double in the third quarter of 2022, it could lead to the loss of more than 300,000 jobs in the following year. The country’s economic output (GDP) would contract by 0.2 percent this year and by 2 percent in 2023, equal to a GDP reduction of 70 billion euros, the researchers found. The study did not include scenarios for production stops in the event of not enough gas being available, which would likely trigger “additional price shocks” in the production chain, the IW said.
Europe stalls on bilateral gas solidarity agreements
EU member states are behind schedule with bilateral agreements on how to help each other out in case of severe gas disruptions in the bloc. EU solidarity rules stipulate that countries must enter these deals, but since the European Commission introduced infringement procedures in 2020 against all member states for not putting the relevant regulation in effect, only six bilateral agreements were concluded. These were in the Baltic states, between Germany and Denmark, Germany and Austria, and between Italy and Slovenia.
Germany unlikely to reach gas storage targets without Nord Stream 1 supply
Germany is facing severe gas supply shortages in the coming winter if it fails to introduce the right measures, according to scenarios mapped out by the Federal Network Agency (BNetzA). The agency published multiple new scenario calculations for gas supply over the coming 12 months, based on different assumptions of flow through Nord Stream 1 (0%/20%/40% of full capacity), alternative imports and lowering exports. The country does not reach all its gas storage level targets (75% by 1 September, 85% by 1 October, 95% by 1 November and 40% by February next year) in any of the calculated scenarios.
German govt agrees additional levy on gas price to save struggling importers
Amid an unprecedented rise in natural gas prices in Germany, the government has agreed on an additional levy on natural gas to help avoid importers going bankrupt over the coming winter. “The goal is to avoid insolvencies and cuts in gas supply throughout the energy crisis caused by the Russian attack on Ukraine,” the economy and climate ministry (BMWK) said. Importers of gas had to face rapidly rising prices since the war started, a situation particularly difficult for providers with many long-term customers that are legally entitled to receiving gas at fixed rates. Due to the levy, the price per kilowatt hour (kWh) of gas for final customers will increase between 1.5 and 5 cents, once the levy is passed on by providers.
German govt ponders best design of new gas levy as households' gas bills set to tripple
The controversial new levy on both households and companies is intended to benefit gas suppliers who now have to pay much higher prices to replace cheap gas from Russia. The government is considering the elimination of the value added tax (VAT) on the surcharge – a move backed by the Free Democrats (FDP) government coalition party. “The levy must not be the basis for further tax revenue,” said Michael Kruse, who oversees energy policy for the FDP‘s parliamentary group.
Scholz says "no technical reasons" for reduced gas flows from Russia
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has said Russia is responsible for the current drop in gas trading between the two countries which is feared to be a possible prelude for an even larger reduction which would worsen the European energy crisis. During a visit at a Siemens Energy facility in western German city Mühlheim, where the engineering company currently stores a gas turbine that has been at the centre of the trade dispute for several weeks, Scholz said the turbine had been overhauled successfully and “is ready for use at any time”. The chancellor sought to counter claims by Russian state-owned gas company Gazprom that the machinery is not operational and therefore to blame for lower gas flows through the offshore pipeline Nord Stream 1.
Boom of electric heaters causing concerns about German grid stability next winter
High demand for electric heaters is raising concerns amongst experts, who state that a large increase in the use of such appliances will threaten the stability of the national grid. In July there was an estimated 500 percent increase in the demand of electric heaters compared with in July last year, as citizens worry about keeping themselves warm this coming winter.
First hard coal “market returnee” power plant ready to replace gas in supply crisis
One of Germany’s retired coal power plants is now ready to be reignited if the energy crisis escalates in the coming months. The operators of the Mehrum hard coal plant in northern Germany said they expect a swift reconnection to the grid of the 690 megawatt (MW) installation, which can supply up to half a million households with electricity.
German gas storage levels could reach 90% despite reduced Nord Stream flows – operators
Even under the scenario where flows of Russian gas through the Nord Stream remain low, storage levels could still reach 90 percent, the association of gas storage system operators in Germany INES said. But less gas than is usually required over winter will be available. If Nord Stream supplies halt entirely, it would further change the situation.
Gazprom cuts flows through Nord Stream 1
As announced two days earlier, Russian Gazprom reduces flows through Nord Stream 1 to 32 million cubic metres per day.
Gazprom says it will reduce flows through Nord Stream to 20% of capacity
Russian gas company Gazprom announces that it would again cut flows through the key Nord Stream pipeline connecting Germany and Russia. Gazprom says flows would drop to just 20 percent (33 million cubic metres per day) of its full capacity from 27 July, because it needed to halt the operation of a Siemens gas turbine at a compressor station on instructions from an industry watchdog. The German government says it sees no technical reason for the latest reduction. Economy minister Robert Habeck tells Bayrischer Rundfunk that it continues to be “annoying” that Russia “does not have the guts to say ‘we are in an economic dispute with you’, but instead keeps telling such farce stories about these turbines that are simply not true. Putin uses the means he has and that is no surprise.”
Germany considers support to protect defaulting gas customers – media report
The German government is considering financial aid to protect households that can’t afford rising gas bills, reports tabloid Bild. Coalition sources tell the paper that two models are under discussion: interest-free loans from state-owned development bank KfW for landlords to pay their tenants’ bills, and direct financial aid to tenants and owners who can no longer pay their bills. However, a source tells Bild that "a lot is still in flux," adding the goal was to reach a decision quickly.
Germany bails out Uniper, Europe’s largest buyer of Russian gas
Germany will take a 30 percent stake in Europe’s largest Russian gas importer Uniper to save it from bankruptcy due to skyrocketing prices. “Uniper is a company that has got into big trouble,” says chancellor Olaf Scholz. “The company is of paramount importance for the economic development of this country, for the energy supply of citizens and many firms.” Scholz says the company bought gas from many suppliers, including Russia’s Gazprom. “As we all know, these supplies are no longer secure.” Scholz says the government would provide public loans of up to 7.7 billion euros in bonds and expand a credit line from state-owned development bank KfW to 9 from 2 billion euros.
Germany steps up gas emergency preparations as Nord Stream resumes operation
Gas starts to flow through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline from Russia to Germany following a 10-day closure for annual maintenance work. The lower utilisation at around 40 percent of capacity "speaks a clear political language" and confirms that Germany "cannot rely on deliveries," says economy and climate minister Robert Habeck. "Technically, there is no reason why Nord Stream 1 should not be fully utilised again after the maintenance has been completed." To ensure gas storages are full before winter, the government intruduces a new target to fill them to a level of 75 percent by 1 September (85% by 1 October; 95% by 1 November). These new targets also mean that companies are prevented from selling the gas that they have already stored at times of high prices, Habeck explained. The ministry also decides to activate a reserve of lignite power plants to reduce gas consumption for power generation on 1 October.
SPD secretary general rules out Nord Stream 2 will enter into operation
The suspended offshore pipeline Nord Stream 2 will not enter into operation to help Germany’s gas supply shortfall, the Social Democrats‘ (SPD) secretary Kevin Kühnert has said. In an interview with news station n-tv, Kühnert said the government will “not prepare for scenario A or B but instead try to become independent from these gas imports as quickly as possible.” The SPD has been among the controversial project’s most active supporters before it was suspended shortly after the Russian attack in late February. “A clear political decision has been made with respect to Nord Stream 2,” he said, adding that “This pipeline will not enter into operation.” With a view to the currently idle pipeline Nord Stream 1, which is scheduled to undergo repair works until 21 July, Kühnert said it would be “completely irrelevant” what happens to it in terms of the government’s determination to end Russian gas imports as soon as possible.
Merkel government left Germany with energy policy “disaster” – agriculture minister
The former German government under chancellor Angela Merkel has left the country with a “disaster” in energy policy that is now costing the country dearly, Green Party agriculture minister Cem Özdemir has said at a debate in Munich reported on by Zeit Online. “We’ve inherited a catastrophic situation,” the minister said, arguing that “it’s not a great idea to let a criminal named Vladimir Putin cover 60 percent of the gas supply.” Özdemir said the former government coalition’s energy policy should be made subject to a “reappraisal,” without explicitly mentioning the role of Merkel or the Social Democratic Party (SPD) of current chancellor Olaf Scholz. “I would be greatly ashamed if I had handed over the country in this state,” Özdemir added.
Lobby group BDI says rules giving gas priority to households in denial of “new reality”
Industry federation BDI has called for a reform of the current gas emergency supply scheme in Germany as the rulebook that gives priority to private households failed to acknowledge a “hard new energy reality” that has to deal with a full-scale cut off from Russian supplies rather than temporary closures of individual supply lines. BDI head Siegfried Russwurm said policymakers in Berlin and Brussels had to come up with new regulation that “obliges all parts of society according to their capability,” news station n-tv reported. The chief lobbyist said he expected Germany to enter “a long-term gas shortage” that makes saving “any kilowatt hour of gas and electricity” an imperative. “Apart from companies, municipalities and states, individual customers have to become part of this massive energy saving campaign,” Russwurm said.
German government warns of energy emergencies in individual states – media
In response to uncertainties of whether gas imports from Nord Stream 1 will continue post the current maintenance work, the German government has warned against the possibility of gas shortages that could affect individual states, reports tabloid Bild. In the government report cited by Bild, the head of the chancellor’s Office, Wolfgang Schmidt (SPD) communicated concerns to the heads of federal states that the government is assuming disruptions of gas imports from Russia to continue beyond the maintenance work, scheduled to end on 21July. If supplies from Russia through the offshore pipeline remained above 40 percent, Germany would likely suffer no energy shortages. However, this outcome in considered overly optimistic.
No gas storage filling for first time in weeks
Germany has taken more natural gas out of its storages than it put in for the first time in weeks, if not months, as flows through the Nord Stream pipeline come to a stop, the federal network agency BNetzA confirmed. “This development makes it more difficult to achieve the storage levels required for winter and reduces the reserves for a gas shortage,” said the agency.
Gas bills to triple from 2023, says grid agency boss
Germany's public is yet to experience the full impact of rising gas prices as bills could “triple” from 2023, Klaus Müller, the president of the German Federal Network Agency (BNetzA), warns.
German govt takes next step to reactivate hard coal plants for supply security in gas crisis
Germany’s government adopts a regulation that would allow operators of certain hard coal plants to temporarily reactivate their units to help reduce natural gas consumption in the power sector.
Germany and Austria deepen cooperation to reduce dependence on Russian energy
Climate ministers Robert Habeck and Leonore Gewessler of Germany and Austria, respectively, say European solidarity is “more important than ever” amid the ongoing gas crisis in Europe, which has been exacerbated by Russia’s war against Ukraine. They sign a joint declaration.
Private households must “do their part” to save gas – econ min
Economy minister Robert Habeck says that private households must “do their part” to conserve gas and that industry must also receive attention in case the government has to ration the fuel in a shortage, reports Tagesschau. "The European emergency gas regulation provides that critical infrastructure and consumers are protected and industry and business are not," Habeck says. This makes sense in the case of short-term and regional problems, he says. "But that's not the scenario we have right now: We're talking potentially months of interruption of gas flows." Habeck is criticised for questioning the high priority for private consumers, but his ministry says his comments were not about households receiving no gas, but about how they could do their part.
Germany faces uncertainty over Russian gas supply as Nord Stream maintenance starts
Russian natural gas supplier Gazprom halts flows through Nord Stream on 11 July as about ten days of planned maintenance work began, with the German government bracing itself for a potentially permanent halt or reduction of supplies.
Econ min Habeck stresses “solidarity in the energy crisis” ahead of visit to Czech Republic and Austria
Germany’s economy and climate minister Robert Habeck visits Prague and Vienna to hold talks on intensified bilateral and European cooperation in securing gas supplies.
Security of energy supply top priority for coming years, says chancellor Scholz
Securing Germany’s energy supply could remain a top priority issue for Germany for some time, says German chancellor Olaf Scholz in a video message. “These days, the security of our energy supply occupies our minds. It will continue to do so for the next weeks, months and even years.” In his remarks, Scholz explains how the government is addressing the supply crisis – namely by building pipelines and LNG terminals, filling gas storages, using coal power plants to save gas, and – in the long run – expanding renewables. Georg Zachmann of think tank Bruegel criticises Scholz for not mentioning the importance of reducing demand and how citizens and companies could contribute to future security by conserving energy.
Uniper applies for government bailout
German chancellor Olaf Scholz pledges to help troubled energy giant Uniper, reports AP; it has asked the government for a bailout to cope with surging prices for natural gas due to the war in Ukraine, the news agency writes. In a statement, Uniper says the “stabilisation measures” it is seeking are “aimed at ceasing the current accumulation of substantial losses, covering Uniper’s liquidity needs and protecting Uniper’s investment-grade credit rating.”
Parent company Fortum says it is in constructive talks with the German government on how to stabilise Uniper both regarding its business risks and financial position, and thus safeguard security of supply in Germany. Several alternatives are now being proposed and discussed with the government, Fortum says.
Economy minister Robert Habeck tells Dlf in an interview that it cannot be ruled out that other companies will also need support. The government needs to make sure taxpayer money is “not spent senselessly,” but there is also some urgency: "We don't have years to think about anything, but there is naturally pressure to act,” he says.
Chemicals industry calls for fast legal clarity for changing supply to oil and coal
Germany’s chemical industry association VCI calls for a quick makeover of energy regulation that allows companies to switch their supply from gas to coal or oil. As a significant shortage of natural gas appears increasingly likely after Russia announced the temporary closure of pipeline Nord Stream 1, companies needed legal clarity for switching their main form of energy supply away from gas, VCI said. The lobby group said that companies should merely be obliged to have their change of supply officially registered for a limited period of time instead of having to obtain a full operating license that could take months to complete.
Gas shortage stress test urgently needed for German economy - Bavarian premier
Bavaria’s state premier, Markus Söder, has called on the German government to carry out a gas supply “stress test” that is meant to assess how well companies can cope with a sudden supply shortfall, news station n-tv reports. “There’s a risk that in case of a gas shortage, pressure in the pipeline system will be insufficient to supply the gas plants needed for supply security in Bavaria,” the conservative CSU state premier wrote in a letter to Green Party economy and climate minister Robert Habeck. Söder said a stress test announced in May so far had not taken place, a situation that was “irritating given the context” of an escalating gas trading crisis with Russia.
Old lignite plants and hard coal import hurdles complicate Germany’s emergency coal revival
The reactivation of mothballed coal plants in Germany - in response to the energy crisis fuelled by Russia’s war on Ukraine - could include old lignite-fired power stations which do not meet emissions limits and other environmental requirements that normally would prohibit continuing their operations. Plants in the so-called security reserve should be made exempt from these requirements, plant operator LEAG recently demanded. Ministry sources suggest that only hard coal plants might get a license initially, with further additions possible “if needed,” according to the article. While lignite is fully sourced domestically, Germany imports its hard coal supply, with Russia still being a major supplier until 10 August, when contracts that were not prolonged in the context of western economic sanctions on Moscow will expire
Germany to change laws to allow company bailouts for energy supply security
Germany’s government aims to amend legislation that would allow the state to take stakes in companies severely affected by rising costs of imported fossil gas, such as Europe’s largest importer of Russian gas, Uniper. The cabinet adopted draft bills which now have to be debated and decided by parliament. The energy crisis, exacerbated by Russia’s war against Ukraine, means that some German energy companies crucial to supply security are struggling. As Russia has significantly reduced gas supplies to and through Germany, Uniper must procure the volumes on spot markets at much higher prices, putting the company in a difficult situation because it is not allowed to simply adjust prices for its customers in the current situation.
French EU commissioner says Germany must keep nuclear plants online as long as possible
The three remaining nuclear plants in Germany that are scheduled for decommissioning at the end of this year should be kept online amid the ongoing European energy crisis to support the bloc’s energy supply security, said the French EU commissioner for the internal market, Thierry Breton. “It’s very important that the three nuclear plants that are still in operation keep operating for a longer time,” meaning at least several months into 2023, Breton said, adding that such a move would be “in the common European interest”, as Russia is trying to weaponise European fossil fuel dependence in its war against Ukraine. Nuclear and also coal power capacity would have to be used “as long as this is necessary”
Energy poverty increasingly affecting Germany’s middle class – analysis
The escalating energy crisis in Europe threatens to push German middle class households into “energy poverty,” economic research institute IW has found in an analysis. Energy poverty arises once the share of energy bills of an individual’s net income exceeds ten percent, which affected about 25 percent of all citizens as of May 2022. In the year before, less than 15 percent of all citizens fit into the category.
First floating LNG terminal under construction, operator hopes for starting supply already in winter
Construction of Germany's first LNG terminal in Wilhelmshaven can start quickly, energy company Uniper said. Authorities gave the green light for the rapid commissioning of a floating storage and regasification unit that can handle 7.5 billion cubic metres of gas per year, over 8 percent of country' annual demand, the company said. Uniper said operations at the terminal "hopefully" could begin already in the coming winter.
"Swimming pools and chocolate buiscuits" have lower priority in case of gas shortage - grid agency
German grid agency (BNetzA) head Klaus Müller says it remains uncertain whether Germany can reach its target to refill gas storages to an average 90 percent before winter. “If gas flows from Russia are lowered for a longer term in the course of the maintenance for political motivations, we have to talk seriously about savings.” He said in that case products and services that are not essential rank lower in the priority list. “Swimming pools are not critical, nor is the production of chocolate buiscuits.” Hamburg’s city government says this could require a rationing of warm water, or lowering the maximum temperature in the district heating network. Climate and energy minister Robert Habeck warns that Germany would face “very, very heated debates” if the country didn’t manage to fill gas storages before the heating season.
Regional gas supply shortage would switch off hundreds of thousands of gas boilers - grid agency
Germany’s grid agency BNetzA warns that even a temporary regional gas supply shortage could have lasting effects on private households. As soon as the pressure in a certain region falls below a minimum threshold, hundreds of thousands of gas boilers would automatically switch off and would have to be restarted individually by qualified personnel, agency head Klaus Müller says. That’s why his agency would always aim to avoid this scenario by ordering cuts in industrial use. Almost half of Germany’s 43 million households are heated with natural gas.
German gas consumption one third lower in May than same time last year
Germany’s gas consumption was 14.3 percent lower in the first five months of 2022 than in the previous year, energy industry association BDEW reports. In the month of May, gas usage even was more than one third (-34.7%) below that of May 2021. Milder temperatures in spring this year likely were responsible for the majority of the decrease, the BDEW said - but even adjusted for temperature effects, consumption still was 10.8 percent lower.
Germany in talks to bail out energy giant Uniper
Germany is in talks to bail out energy company Uniper to stem broader fallout from Russia’s moves to slash natural gas deliveries, reports Bloomberg. Uniper, the largest buyer of Russian gas in Germany, said it’s discussing a possible increase in state-backed loans or even equity investments to secure liquidity.
Industry fears halving of its gas supply, major loss in output if Russia stops deliveries
A sudden stop of Russian gas supplies as of July 2022 would lead to a loss of economic output of more than 12 percent, affecting up 5.6 million jobs in the country, a paper commissioned by the Bavarian Industry Association (vbw) states. The paper, prepared by consultancy Prognos, assumes that not even half of the industry's gas demand would be covered due to legally defined minimum quantities in gas storage facilities and the supply of priority customers. Planned liquefied natural gas (LNG) deliveries are expected to not be available in sufficient quantities yet.
G7 say they won't compromise on climate goals as they tackle fallout of war against Ukraine
G7 leaders have finished their three-day meeting in the Bavarian Alps with a commitment to the Paris Climate Agreement, even as they agreed that public funding could be necessary for some fossil gas projects to reduce dependence on Russian energy. The summit agenda was dominated by Russia’s war against the Ukraine, which G7 leaders sought to counter by demonstrating strength and unity in the group of influential western economies.
German parliament adopts laws for faster grid & hydrogen expansion
Germany’s federal parliament (Bundestag) has passed a first batch of energy legislation, designed to accelerate the expansion of the power grid and protect consumers from rising energy prices when a supplier leaves the market. “For a successful energy transition, it is crucial that the grid expansion can keep pace with the accelerated expansion of renewable energies," said economy and climate minister Robert Habeck, whose ministry had prepared the bills.
Germany triggers second alert stage of three step-emergency gas plan
The German government has launched the second of a total of three escalation stages of its national gas supply security plan, which was drawn up in reaction to Russia's invasion of Ukraine. After triggering the first "early warning" stage shortly after Russia's attack began in February, the reduction of gas flows from Russia to Germany since mid-June led the energy ministry to launch the second "alert stage," which is supposed to prepare gas consumers for further rising prices and possible supply bottlenecks while still largely relying on market mechanisms. The country's grid agency warned avoiding critical supply shortages would depend on the success of gas saving efforts and intra-European gas trading, while industry representatives said skyrocketing prices could not be shouldered by companies alone
Habeck accuses Russia of an economic attack on Germany
Federal economy minister Robert Habeck has described Russia’s move to throttle gas supplies last week as “an economic attack” on Germany, Spiegel reports. Speaking at a Federation of German Industries (BDI) conference on Tuesday, Habeck said the attack, similar to gas supply cuts to Poland, Bulgaria and Denmark, was aimed at triggering a debate in Europe and in Germany “about the hardship and fear that is affecting this country” and warned against a rise in populism.
RWE halts early retirements as Germany ramps up coal use to replace Russian gas
RWE, Germany’s largest energy company, has halted early retirement of employees in reaction to the government’s decision to increase the use of coal-fired power while gas supplies are low. In order to keep the lignite-fired power plants running longer than previously expected, the company will also use trained and external workers to cover personnel requirements, involving hundreds of jobs.
Faster decarbonisation must accompany shift from Russian energy – G7 business groups
Efforts to replace fossil fuel imports from Russia must be accompanied by an "even stronger adoption of policies embracing the transition to decarbonisation and the green economy," said business associations from all G7 countries in a joint statement ahead of the leaders’ summit in Germany. Natural gas from other suppliers than Russia should be treated as a “transition fuel”, the so-called B7 (business-7) alliance said.
German economy minister rejects calls for using fracking to secure gas supplies
Germany’s economy and climate minister Robert Habeck rejects a suggestion by the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP) to allow the controversial fracking method to exploit unused natural gas deposits in the country in order to secure supply. “The discussion about fracking doesn’t help us at all at the moment. Even if we decided to do it, it would take years to exploit these deposits,” the Green party politician says.
Security official concerned over Chinese involvement in German wind sector
Growing tensions between the West and China are leading to increasing concern over the role of Chinese companies in Germany’s energy sector, particularly in the wind power segmen. A German security official has warned against the potential threat of Chinese companies involved in the monitoring and operating of wind farms and the supply of crucial components for wind power infrastructure. A string of apparently targeted cyberattacks on German wind farmsearlier this year, possibly perpetrated by Russia, has led to worries that the country’s main future power source is not sufficiently protected.
Replacing Russian gas to play “enormous role” at leaders’ summits – govt official
The question of how to replace natural gas supply from Russia will play an “enormous role” at upcoming leaders’ summits of the European Union, the G7 and NATO, said a German government official in Berlin. The issue will, for example, be discussed in connection with the idea to establish a “climate club” at the G7 summit that takes place in Schloss Elmau at the end of the week.
Germany to fire up coal plants as Russia turns down the gas
Germany must limit its use of gas for electricity production and prioritize the filling of storage facilities to compensate for a drop in supply from Russia, Economy Minister Robert Habeck says, according to a report by Deutsche Welle. Habeck laments the necessity to use more coal to produce electricity, but describes the current situation as serious. “That's bitter, but it's simply necessary in this situation to lower gas usage.”
Diminished Nord Stream 1 gas flows could lead Germany to regulate gas retailing – econ min
The increasing pressure on Germany’s gas supply system could lead the government to tighten its grip on gas distribution and enforce savings by law, economy and climate minister Robert Habeck said. The ministry told Clean Energy Wire gas flows would be monitored hourly to decide about next possible steps. Following Russian company Gazprom’s announcement that it will reduce the amount of gas delivered to Germany through the key Nord Stream 1 pipeline by about 60 percent, Habeck said “we will implement further measures to save gas, if need be also by law” if the country’s gas storages cannot be filled as planned
Gazprom announcement to reduce Nord Stream gas flows "political decision" - econ min
Gas flows from Russia to Germany through the key Nord Stream 1 pipeline will be drastically reduced for an unspecified period, state-owned Russian gas provider Gazprom has announced. The company said that German engineering company Siemens had failed to provide the equipment needed to carry out repairs just weeks before the offshore pipeline is scheduled to undergo its annual maintenance work. German economy minister Robert Habeck called the move a "political decision". The reduced gas flows could put Germany’s target of filling its gas storages almost completely by the end of the year at risk.
Germany to tighten antitrust law as fuel tax cuts fail to bring price relief
Economy minister Robert Habeck has said that the government intends to tighten the country’s antitrust law amid concerns that oil companies do not pass on a tax cut on fuels to consumers. The government has lowered taxes on fuels for the months of June, July and August as part of a larger relief package to help citizens deal with rising energy prices, exacerbated by Russia’s war against Ukraine. However, data from the first days indicated that the gap between pump prices and crude oil prices had increased sharply, Habeck said. “What many experts had warned about has come to pass: The mineral oil companies pocket the profit, consumers feel nothing of the tax reduction.”
Germans urged to cut energy use to lessen dependence on Russia
The government and a broad alliance of business and civil society groups are calling on citizens to save energy with an advertising campaign aimed at reducing dependence on Russian imports while also accelerating the country’s landmark energy transition. Increasing efficiency is key to becoming more independent and reaching climate targets, economy and climate minister Robert Habeck said at the launch of the campaign. Many environmentalists welcomed the initiative, but some criticised the government for subsidising petrol use and shifting responsibility to citizens.
Govt approves plan for larger coal plant reserve and gas cut for power stations
To counteract future gas supply shortages, the government cabinet has decided on new regulations for the provision of backup power stations and to minimise the use of natural gas in power generation. In case of an emergency, additional back-up plants can be brought into operation at short notice, the article said. For this purpose, already mothballed coal plants will be upgraded; some 2.6 gigawatt (GW) of coal capacity that is scheduled to be shut down will be transferred into the reserve, which will amount to 9 GW in total.
UAE wants to cooperate with Germany on hydrogen for climate-neutral future – minister
Germany and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) will cooperate on an accelerated energy transition to meet their climate neutrality targets, the UAE’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan has said. In an op-ed for business daily Handelsblatt, the minister wrote that the two countries had launched the Emirati-German Hydrogen Task Force to drive sustainable growth and meet their respective 2045 and 2050 climate neutrality goals. They also discussed how hydrogen-based technology and infrastructure can strengthen Europe’s energy security.
German econ min's Israel visit focused on renewables rather than LNG
The economy and climate minister has held talks in Israel about bilateral energy cooperation, with a focus on developing renewable energies rather than short-term deliveries of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to replace shipments from Russia. Israel has large natural gas reserves but no LNG terminal. "I have made it clear that Germany needs natural gas now to diversify from Russian supplies, but less so in the medium term," minister Robert Habeck said. Gas infrastructure that is ready in seven or nine years would come at a time when Germany “will very quickly detach itself from fossil energies again,” he said. A short-term fix could be shipping gas from Israel that arrives in Egypt via pipeline to Germany from an Egyptian LNG port.
Majority of German economists support EU tariffs on Russian energy
EU tariffs on energy imports from Russia would be supported by a majority of economists, a survey has found. According to the survey by Ifo Institute and newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 70 percent of polled economists said they would prefer tariffs to embargoes, and that they believe they would be an effective way to reduce payments to Russia while protecting European energy supply. A tariff would force Russia to lower its export price while high prices in Europe would be an adequat signal for consuming less of a scarce resource.
Netherlands gives go-ahead for joint gas drilling with Germany in North Sea
The Netherlands has greenlighted joint gas drilling operations with Germany in the North Sea to exploit a gas field straddling both countries’ territorial waters. The Dutch government said it had issued its license for the gas field’s part in the Netherlands, while Germany had started an “accelerated” licensing procedure for its share of the gas field, news website n-tv reported. Gas could be produced by a planned drilling rig by 2024, with the rig itself receiving its energy from wind turbines. Plans for exploiting the field about 20 kilometres off the coast have existed for several years but so far did not go ahead due to environmental concerns, as the field is located near the protected Wadden Sea marine reserve. Earlier this week, Russian gas provider Gazprom declared it would no longer supply natural gas to the Netherlands.
German govt issues decree to fill up largest natural gas storage
Economy and climate minister Robert Habeck has issued a decree obliging the gas storage of Rehden to be filled. Rehden is Germany’s largest gas reserve, but storage levels have been at historic lows for months (currently only 2% full), something the owner – Russian Gazprom Germania Group -- has not done anything about. Since April, Gazprom Germania has been under trusteeship by the Federal Network Agency (BNetzA). “With the ministerial decree, we are creating the preconditions so that the market area manager Trading Hub Europe can start injecting gas as quickly as possible,” the ministry writes.
Build up new global gas supply chains rather than fight over existing volumes – Scholz
Countries like Germany should endeavour to find new, additional sources of natural gas as they are trying to wean themselves off Russian supply, instead of crowding out weaker competition on the world markets, chancellor Olaf Scholz said. Competition for existing supplies “would mean massively rising prices and entire countries and world regions that could no longer afford energy,” he said at the energy industry conference BDEW Congress 2022. He called for new supply chains and energy partnerships. “Just last week, I held talks with partners in Africa on how we can support the development of a liquefied natural gas infrastructure there – and, in the long term, a hydrogen infrastructure – for example through the European Investment Bank or KfW funding.” Scholz called natural gas the “central bridge to a climate-neutral future,” even if Germany may have to resort to using more coal in the short term.
Government pledges to find economic perspectives for workers hit by embargo on Russian oil
A project group set up by the economy and climate ministry has begun its work to find an economic perspective for workers at the oil refinery in Schwedt on the Polish border, which so far has processed a majority of Germany’s Russian oil imports. A far-reaching embargo on Russian oil by the EU will plunge the refinery that services a large part of eastern Germany as well as the entire region into severe economic difficulties. “Things in Schwedt are complex,” state secretary Michael Kellner said, adding that Germany’s reliance on Russian fossil fuels even after the start of the Crimea War in 2014 was “now taking its toll”. Kellner said the government would work to find solutions for workers in Schwedt, arguing that this would pose an “opportunity” as fossil fuels would in any case be phased out in the foreseeable future. He said clean energy solutions like hydrogen production, sustainable aviation fuels and other renewable power technologies could be a possible lifeline for the region’s energy industry.
Germany pushes for closer offshore wind cooperation between Baltic Sea states
Germany wants to increase international cooperation on making the Baltic Sea an important location for offshore wind generation. The country plans to use its one-year presidency of the Council of the Baltic Sea States starting in July to push the issue, foreign minister Annalena Baerbock said before the start of a ministerial session of the Council in Kristiansand in Norway.
German-Senegalese gas plans under fire for violating pledge to end fossil fuel support
Germany could support Senegal in efforts to exploit fossil gas resources off its coast, chancellor Olaf Scholz said during a visit to the western African country. As Germany seeks alternatives to Russian fossil fuel imports, Scholz said the two countries' governments had begun “intensive” talks on cooperation on gas extraction and LNG production. However, think tanks and NGOs say such cooperation would contradict a pledge Germany signed at last year’s UN climate conference, whose signatories vowed to end foreign fossil fuel support by the end of 2022. A climate and economy ministry spokesperson told Clean Energy Wire that Germany stands by the pledge and would implement it. Under the umbrella of Germany’s G7 presidency this year, the group of industrialised democracies could establish a special “climate partnership” with Senegal, said Scholz.
Repeated cyberattacks cause concern about German wind industry’s IT security
A string of apparently targeted cyberattacks on German wind farms has led to worries that the country’s main future power source is not sufficiently protected. Energy system IT expert Hagen Lauer of research institute Fraunhofer SIT warned that renewables have become part of the country’s critical infrastructure, adding that many are operated by small companies with limited security resources. Lauer said the Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) should strive to better integrate small companies and also private solar power “prosumers” in its IT security architecture.
LNG deliveries could start by 2024 as Germany and Qatar formally seal energy partnership
Qatar and Germany have inked a bilateral energy partnership that includes shipments of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the emirate in the Middle East to Germany. Qatar’s sheikh Tamin al Thani and German economy and climate minister Robert Habeck signed a declaration saying both countries would deepen trading of energy and other commercial relations while also jointly working on reaching their climate targets, Germany’s economy and climate ministry said. Green hydrogen production with renewable power would also play an important role in the envisaged partnership, it added. In an interview with Handelsblatt, the sheikh said LNG deliveries to Germany could commence by 2024.
Solar, wind clear favourites of German citizens, nuclear remains largely rejected
Renewable power installations and hydrogen production are by far the favoured options for people in Germany to manage the pivot away from Russian fossil fuels, a survey conducted by Germany’s Federal Environment Foundation (DBU) has found. More investments in solar power (75%), wind power and green hydrogen (both 65%) received the highest approval rates among surveyed citizens, while new investments in nuclear power (25%), natural gas (6%) and coal (5%) received only low or very low support. However, the survey also found that renewables still only play a marginal role in the country’s heating sector, where natural gas dominates with 52 percent of all heating systems. Oil is used in 18 percent of homes for heating, whereas heat pumps cover 3 percent, geothermal energy 2 percent and solar thermal system 1 percent of all households.
Coal plant phase-out auctions continue unfettered by energy crisis
The interest in decommissioning hard coal power plants by operators has not been reduced by the energy crisis resulting from the war in Ukraine, the latest round of auctions in the context of Germany’s coal exit has shown. “Procedures to phase out coal can continue in this currently difficult situation,” said Klaus Müller, head of Germany’s Federal Grid Agency (BNetzA). Plants with a combined capacity of about 1,000 megawatts (MW) that had been awarded about 45,000 euros per MW on average for decommissioning would only have to be taken off the grid in two years’ time and might even be kept in security reserve if they are considered systemically relevant, Müller said.
State CDU says gas power plants needed for supply security, but NGOs decry reliance
Conservative politicians in the south-western German state of Baden-Württemberg have called for keeping natural gas plants as a backup while the country phases out coal and nuclear power. Exiting the two technologies would not be possible „only with wind power, mandatory solar roofs, climate neutral heating concepts and the hope that our neighbours have some energy left for us,” said Raimund Haser, environment expert for the Christian Democrats (CDU), who are the smaller partner in a coalition with the Green Party in the highly industrialised state.
Environmental groups criticised the reasoning that gas should remain a pillar of Germany’s energy system, with Friends of the Earth Germany (BUND) arguing that Russia’s war in Ukraine demonstrates “that we have to reduce and not increase our reliance on natural gas.” Gas plants would be an “emergency option” that thwarts the rollout of renewable power, BUND said, adding it intended to mount a legal challenge to plans for quickly building new import terminals for liquefied natural gas (LNG).
Germany welcomes EU plans to end dependence on Russian energy
Germany has reacted largely positively to EU plans for ending dependence on Russian fossil fuel imports. Chancellor Olaf Scholz called the European Commission’s RePowerEU Plan an “important initiative” that could give fresh impetus to renewables expansion, energy efficiency and industrial transformation. The German industry in general welcomed the Commission’s efforts to exit fossil fuels from Russia and cut red tape when it comes to infrastructure projects, such as renewables and hydrogen facilities. However, think tanks criticised the EU for putting too much emphasis on diversifying the current oil, gas and coal supply routes instead of moving to renewables more forcefully.
Mutual energy security assistance imperative of EU solidarity – Scholz
European Union countries must support each other during the current energy crisis exacerbated by Russia’s war against Ukraine, said German chancellor Olaf Scholz in a government statement to the Bundestag. “At the European level, it is important to ensure that there are no shortages in energy supply in individual member states,” said Scholz. “This is an imperative of European solidarity.” Part of a European solution to the crisis is the development of trans-European energy networks, said Scholz.
No fixed shutdown sequence for gas users in case of supply shortage – regulator
There will be no fixed shutdown sequence with regard to individual consumers or sectors in case of a stop or stark reduction of gas supply from Russia, the Federal Network Agency (BNetzA), Germany’s regulator, said in a paper on criteria for action during a possible gas shortage. The measures the grid agency plans to take would depend “on the specific nature of a gas shortage,” but – in principle – the measures would be the mildest possible, writes BNetzA. These range from ordering those consumers who can to switch to a different fuel to cutting supply for complete industrial facilities.
Economy ministry tables energy efficiency "work plan" to reduce fossil fuel demand
The economy and climate ministry has presented plans to make Germany save more energy and increase efficiency, particularly in view of the impact of the war in Ukraine on Russian fossil fuel imports. The "work plan" offers a catalogue of measures that includes financial incentives, targeted support and regulatory framework adjustments. “We are currently pulling out all the stops to become less dependent on Russian energy,” said economy minister Robert Habeck. “As important as it is to find alternative sources of supply for gas in the short term and to build the infrastructure for this, the cheapest and most efficient contribution to greater independence is lower energy consumption.”
Energy industry calls for law to ramp-up Germany's hydrogen economy
German energy industry association BDEW has called for a “hydrogen ramp-up law” to ensure that the country quickly takes the steps necessary to build up a market for climate-friendly hydrogen, according to a media report. A new support programme should help fund the generation and use of hydrogen, for example through carbon contracts for difference (CCfD). The government also has to ensure that hurdles in the permitting process are minimised and that the necessary infrastructure for hydrogen imports can be set up, the lobby group said.
Russia "weaponises" gas supply, Germany could cope with halt by winter – econ min
Russia has started to use fossil fuel deliveries as “a weapon“ with the introduction of sanctions on Gazprom Germania, the former German unit of Gazprom, said economy and climate minister Robert Habeck. While the situation was escalating, the concerned gas volumes could be compensated for, said the minister. In an interview with a German newspaper, Habeck said Germany could cope with a halt to Russian gas deliveries as early as the coming winter.
War response must not undermine climate and environmental action – env min
Climate action and environmental protection must not be compromised as a result of Germany’s response to the war on Ukraine, environment minister Steffi Lemke said. The Green Party politician told public broadcaster DLF extraordinary measures like the fast licensing of liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals would be acceptable “in the current exceptional situation”, but added this doesn't mean that environmental regulation no longer plays a role. Moreover, new investments in fossil infrastructure should not imply that fossil fuels are going to be used longer than planned, she added.
Ukraine’s redirecting of gas flows not affecting supply security – ministry
Gas supply security in Germany is not affected by a reduction of transfers via pipelines running through Ukraine, the economy and climate ministry said in an article by news magazine Der Spiegel. “Supply security in Germany currently is guaranteed,” a spokesperson said, following an announcement by Ukraine’s gas pipeline operator that it would redirect some gas flows from Russia to Europe due to “force majeure” imposed by the Russian occupation of Ukrainian territory. About one third of daily supplies to Europe, roughly 33 million cubic metres, could be lost due to the incident, the article said.
Germany's grid agency BNetzA said the rerouting of gas flows in Ukraine would reduce supplies via this gateway by 25 percent, which could be compensated by more imports from Norway and the Netherlands. It also said there were no immediate effects on prices, while storage facilities in the country would currently be fuller than during the same time in 2015, 2017 or 2021.
Praise and criticism for German government’s LNG acceleration act
Germany’s government has decided on a draft text for an LNG (liquefied natural gas) Acceleration Act to speed up planning and construction of necessary infrastructure for direct imports. The LNG act will now be introduced Into parliament and the Bundestag as well as the council of state governments (Bundesrat) must agree for it to take effect. The draf says the LNG import infrastructure to be built now must be fully converted to receive only climate-neutral hydrogen and derivates like ammonia by 2043, writes the news agency.
Germany, Qatar at odds over terms in talks on LNG supply deal - media report
Germany and Qatar have hit difficulties in talks over long-term liquefied natural gas (LNG) supply deals amid differences over key conditions, including the duration of any contract, three people familiar with the discussions told Reuters. Germany, which aims to cut its carbon emissions by 88% by 2040, is reluctant to commit to Qatar's conditions to sign deals of at least 20 years to secure the massive LNG volumes it needs to reduce its dependence on Russian gas, the sources said.
Economy ministry draws up emergency plan for sudden halt to gas deliveries - report
Germany "quietly" is making provisions for a possible sudden end to gas deliveries from Russia, news agency Reuters reported. An response package might include putting critical companies and infrastructure under state control, the article said. In a different article, Reuters reported that Germany has shelved plans to establish a nationa coal reserve in response to embargoes on Russian supplies. Supply on world markets would suffice to satisfy expected demand in the country, the economy ministry said according to the news agency.
Habeck to visit key oil refinery in eastern Germany to discuss impact of Russia embargo
Economy and climate minister Robert Habeck will visit the oil refinery in the eastern German town of Schwedt to discuss the effects of an EU oil embargo against Russia on the energy industry in the town on the Polish border, newspaper Tagesspiegel reported. The state premier of Schwedt’s home state Brandenburg, Dietmar Woidke (SPD), had urged the Green economy and climate minister to come up with emergency schemes to protect the refinery that is owned by Russian energy company Rosneft and provides much of the oil consumed in eastern Germany, including the capital city Berlin. Habeck had warned the embargo on Russian oil would immensely impact the Schwedt refinery and could lead to oil supply shortages in eastern Germany. A possible result of Habeck’s visit could be a plan to expropriate Rosneft and put the refinery under state control.
Energy industry calls for clear operating plan in case of gas supply shortage
The German energy industry group BDEW has urged the government to outline a definite operating plan for the event of a cut to Russian gas supplies. “If gas deliveries are no longer possible, things need to happen fast,” BDEW head Kerstin Andreae said, arguing that the government had to discuss and decide on all needed measures now to minimise the economic impact. Andreae said the supply of “protected customers”, including households and critical infrastructure, and the refilling of the country’s gas storages for next winter should have a priority if Russian supplies are cut off.
Germany is rapidly pushing several infrastructure projects for the import of liquefied natural gas (LNG) in order to wean itself off Russian natural gas. Economy and climate minister Robert Habeck visited the kick-off ceremony for the construction of Germany’s first LNG terminal at the port town of Wilhelmshaven, and signed contracts for four floating liquefied gas units. At the same time, the northern state of Lower Saxony and the federal government agreed to establish an industrial-scale import infrastructure for climate-friendly gases by the end of 2025.
Economy minister says oil embargo could lead to regional fuel shortages
German economy minister Robert Habeck tells RTL Direkt that the planned embargo on Russian oil imports could lead to short-term shortages of fuels such as petrol in eastern Germany and Berlin. “It cannot be ruled out, I am sorry to say, that shortages will indeed occur,” he said. As refineries in the east have been supplied with oil from Russia, it could happen that "for a limited time there is too little oil and therefore too little petrol available,” Habeck said.
Germany says ready to support EU proposal for embargo on Russian oil
European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen announces the proposal for a “complete import ban on all Russian oil, seaborne and pipeline, crude and refined”, with a phase-out period of six months for crude oil and refined products by the end of 2022.
Germany’s economy and climate minister Robert Habeck says the country is ready. “The transition period is sufficiently long that we can make all arrangements to create alternatives to Russian oil in Germany,” Habeck says. “Of course, we can’t guarantee in this situation that it will not falter, especially regionally.”
Government plans to speed up approvals for LNG terminals
The German government plans a law to speed up the construction of terminas for the import of liquefied natural gas (LNG). "The aim of the law is to go through all approval and authorisation procedures as well as the awarding of public contracts and concessions considerably faster than is possible under the current legal situation, and thus to achieve speedy approvals and integration of LNG into the German market," the economy and climate ministry said.
Grid agency proposes auction for gas use rights in case of supply shortfall
Germany's grid agency BNetzA has proposed auctioning off permissions for gas comsumption in the case of a shortfall. "In the case of the coal phase-out, we use an auction model to achieve the most efficient shutdown of power plants with economic incentives," Müller told Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung. "I can imagine such incentives for the industrial sector as well. The market knows better than the state where energy can be saved most efficiently."
Germany backs EU ban on Russian uranium - media report
Germany has thrown its weight behind demands to sanction uranium imports from Russia and other parts of Vladimir Putin's civil nuclear industry in retaliation for his invasion of Ukraine, five EU diplomats told POLITICO. Four of the diplomats said sanctioning Russia's nuclear industry was discussed in a meeting with EU ambassadors and the Commission earlier this week, with Poland and the Baltic countries leading the calls to act.
Oil embargo “not necessarily the best way” to harm Putin, says German econ min
Although the preparations for weaning Germany off Russian oil are well underway and have put the country in a position where it could join an oil embargo, economy and climate minister Robert Habeck has warned that such an embargo may not harm the Russian economy as much as generally believed. “It could result in the situation that oil becomes much more expensive on the global market,” Habeck said on public television ZDF, arguing that Russian president Vladimir Putin would then receive more money for the oil that he continues to sell to other countries. “That would be idiotic and counterproductive and we should prevent this,” Habeck said, adding that a high oil price would damage less affluent countries even more than western Europe and North America, and drive them into Putin’s arms.
Chancellor Scholz warns Germans to be prepared for sudden gas stop
Speaking during a visit to Tokyo on Thursday, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said he is preparing for Russia to halt all gas shipments to his country, arguing it was impossible to guess how Putin will behave. “You have to be prepared for that,” he said, “and we were already prepared before the war started and we know what we have to do."
Germany one step away from ending dependence on Russian oil
Germany has reduced its dependence on Russian crude oil from 35 to 12 percent and will take steps to replace the remaining deliveries to the Russian-operated Schwedt refinery within the next days, says economy and climate minister Robert Habeck. As Gazprom stopped supplies of natural gas to Poland and Bulgaria because of their “failure” to pay in roubles, both EU and German politicians said that Vladimir Putin’s warning shot should not make governments nervous, as contingency plans were put in place.
Cabinet agrees on energy price relief package
The government agrees on measures to support citizens facing higher energy prices. The cabinet decision formally gets the second relief package on its way, which was already agreed by the coalition partners at the end of March. It includes lowering energy taxes on petrol and diesel to the European minimum from June to August; a 300-euro one-off payment for people in paid work; and a 9-euro/month public transport ticket also for June until August. The measures must now be debated in parliament to enact the necessary legislative changes. Votes in the Bundestag and Bundesrat are planned for 19 and 20 May 2022.
Half of companies to reduce investments due to high energy prices – survey
Rapidly rising energy costs have led many companies in Germany to postpone or reconsider investments, a survey carried by newspaper Augsburger Allgemeine has found. Nearly half (46%) of the roughly 1,100 companies surveyed said they would reduce their investments and 11 percent said they consider completely shutting down part of their operations due to high energy costs. However, three quarters also said they would increase investments in energy efficiency. About 40 percent said they already experience high energy costs, while many others said they would be insulated from the price hike for now as they still benefit from long-term delivery contracts at lower prices. Three quarters said they expect significant price rises in the second half of the year and another quarter in 2023. About 90 percent said they would likely have to increase their own prices as a result.
German grid agency starts survey of gas network operators to prepare for shortfalls
Germany's grid agency BNetzA begins collecting data from gas network operators in preparation for possible supply shortages as a result of the war in Ukraine. "We are working intensely to prepare for a situation where the BNetzA must order supply reductions for major gas consumers. At the same time we are doing everything to keep that situation from occurring," says agency head Klaus Müller. In the case of gas shortfalls, it would be the agency's job to coordinate consumption. The survey is part of the preparations for a gas security platform which is planned to go online on 1 October.
Germany rejects Putin’s demand for gas payments in roubles
Companies buying Russian natural gas should not have to set up rouble accounts to pay for it, German finance minister Christian Lindner says in an interview with Bloomberg Television in Washington. “Contracts are contracts,” Lindner says. “Contracts are based on dollars and euros and so private-sector companies should pay in dollars or euros.”
Mistake not listening to eastern European warnings on Nord Stream 2 – former foreign min
“It was a mistake not to listen to the eastern Europeans when they objected to Nord Stream 2,” former German foreign minister Sigmar Gabriel tells Die Welt. “We transferred the responsibility for energy security from the state to the private energy companies when we liberalised the whole of Europe in 2002. And they looked for the cheapest source: Russian pipeline gas.” The government should have started to question the complete liberalisation by 2014, when Russia annexed Crimea, and diversified gas supply for reasons of national security, Gabriel adds.
Current price hikes for motor fuels higher than during crises of past decades – Destatis
The dynamic development of energy prices in the context of the COVID-19 crisis has further accelerated as a result of the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine, and the year-on-year increase in motor fuel prices in the past decades has never been as large as in the reference month of March 2022, says the federal statistical office Destatis. In March 2022, private consumers paid an average of 41.9 percent more for premium petrol and 62.6 percent more for diesel at German petrol stations than a year earlier.
Secure power supply in 2023 possible even without Russian energy– DIW
A secure power supply in 2023 is possible even without Russian energy and despite the nuclear exit, write researchers from the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW). While in the short term, coal-fired power plants must be used to guarantee supply, the government plans an accelerated expansion of renewable energies and a declining demand for natural gas and coal-fired power generation is projected for the medium term, they write. “Thus, the goal of a coal phase-out brought forward to 2030, as envisaged in the coalition agreement, remains achievable.”
Not clear how fast Germany can wean itself off Russian gas – chancellor Scholz
Germany is in the process of weaning itself off Russian fossil fuel supplies, but it is unclear how fast this could be done when it comes to natural gas, says chancellor Olaf Scholz during a press conference. “As far as gas is concerned, you know our very ambitious plans to build pipelines and terminals at the greatest possible pace, the likes of which have not been seen in Germany in the last 50 years. We'll tell you how quickly we'll be done with it when we've done it. But we want to be much faster than all the plans, and that is what we are pushing with great ambition.”
EU aims to include oil in next sanctions package on Russia, says European Commission president
The European Union aims to include oil supplies in its next sanction package, European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen tells Bild Zeitung. She warns that prices will go up on the global markets, potentially giving Russia higher revenues when it sells oil to markets other than the EU. “The ultimate goal is to shrink (Russian president Vladimir) Putin's revenues,” she says. “That is why we are developing clever mechanisms so that oil can also be included in the next sanctions.”
German energy supply not sufficiently secure, says E.ON head
The CEO of German energy company E.ON, Leonhard Birnbaum, tells Handelsblatt that the war against Ukraine and its consequences have shown that the country’s energy supply is “not sufficiently” secure. “We have learned in recent weeks that strategic dependencies can be problematic. And we have learned the hard way that we as Europe, but especially as Germany, did not have security of supply sufficiently on our radar,” he says. Germany would need three years to become independent of Russian gas supplies, says Birnbaum, but warns that the country should not see this as a national issue. “If we think we can secure German supply without taking care of the other states together, it will tear the EU apart.”
Greenpeace proposes levy on payments for Russian gas
Due to rising prices, German could transfer even higher sums in return for oil and gas to Russia, Greenpeace Germany has calculated in a new analysis. Germany's expenditure on Russian oil could rise from 11.4 billion euros to 14.3 billion euros in 2022 compared to the previous year. The import of gas could double and the total bill could amount to 31.8 billion euros this year, corresponding to 75 percent of the regime’s 2020 military budget, Greenpeace says. A state-imposed levy on the fixed reference price of gas would reduce Russia’s profit margin; another option would be a price cap. Such a cap could be based on pre-war prices which for example between 2015-2020 stood at 16 euros per megawatt-hour, considerably less than the current 100 €/MWh, Greenpeace writes.
German state leader under pressure over involvement in Nord Stream 2
Leading German politicians call for a probe into the role played by Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania's state premier Manuela Schwesig in the controversial Russian-German natural gas pipeline project Nord Stream 2. “How the government in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania made itself a henchman of Nord Stream 2 in order to promote the construction of the Baltic Sea pipeline urgently needs to be investigated,” says Green Party MP Anton Hofreiter.
Fracking still not an option for Germany, says econ and climate minister
Sourcing more natural gas domestically by using fracking is still not an option for Germany, even in the light of an ensuing energy shortage if Russian gas supplies stopped flowing, economy and climate minister Robert Habeck says.
Finance ministry approves €3 billion for floating LNG terminals
The German finance ministry approves the spending of up to three billion euros from the budget to finance floating terminals for liquified natural gas (LNG) in German ports.
Protesters criticise government’s fossil energy plans
Climate activists from the "The Last Generation" (Letzte Generation) movement protest the fossil energy policy of the federal government. They mock the construction of what they call the “Qatar Stream” pipeline in front of the economy ministry in Berlin to criticise Berlin’s gas supply deals with the Arab country, and smear black paint onto the building to protest oil extraction plans in the North Sea.
Russia’s influence in EU nuclear power projects shown by Siemens Energy cooperation
Europe’s energy dependence on Russia is not limited to fossil fuels but also extends to nuclear power, and German company Siemens Energy’s continued cooperation with Russia’s state-owned nuclear power company Rosatom illustrates the complex nature of Russia’s role in European energy supply, newspaper Tageszeitung (taz) reports. Many reactors in the EU depend on nuclear fuel supplies from Russia and also the construction of planned new reactors in Finland and in Hungary hinges on cooperation with Rosatom. Together with French company Framatome, Siemens Energy provides instrumentations and control units to the planned nuclear power stations.
German economy would shrink by 2% in case of embargo on Russian energy – economists
Germany is facing a 2-percent drop in its GDP in 2023 in case of an immediate halt to imports of Russian oil, gas and coal, leading economic institutes said in their joint forecast. This is in line with other recent forecasts, but stands in contrast to warnings by the government that a halt especially to gas imports from Russia would plunge Germany and Europe into a deep recession. Germany is under pressure from other EU member states to agree to a full embargo on Russian fossil fuels.
Government parties’ MPs call for quick EU oil embargo on Russia after visit to Ukraine
Three high-ranking MPs from Germany’s government coalition parties have called for a quick EU embargo on Russian oil after a visit to Ukraine. “The EU should impose an oil embargo on Russia as soon as possible,” Social Democrat (SPD) Michael Roth, head of the parliament’s foreign affairs committee, said in a report carried by public broadcaster ARD. Banning Russian oil imports would be an important signal, as it would target one of the Russian government’s main sources of income. An EU embargo could come with a transition phase similar to that planned for coal imports, Roth added. Also, Free Democrat (FDP) Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann, head of the defence committee, and the Green Party’s Anton Hofreiter, head of the European affairs committee, said they endorsed a quick ban on imports. “This could be done within weeks, as there are other suppliers,” Hofreiter said, adding that he was opposed to long transition phases.
Grid agency head calls on German households to turn down heating
The new head of Germany‘s Federal Network Agency (BNetzA), Klaus Müller, has appealed to citizens and businesses to reduce their energy consumption. “Everything that saves just one cubic metre of gas is a good thing,” Müller told the news website n-tv in an interview. “Each and every one is called to action here,“ he said. The agency head said heating systems in private homes could be turned down to 17 degrees Celsius to save money and energy. Moreover, consumers should review the way they use their heating and whether it could be done more efficiently. Taking warm showers “seven times a week” would also be something citizens should reconsider. Müller said he was worried about the country’s gas storage filling levels. While current levels have stabilised again and now stand at nearly 30 percent, it would be a long way still to achieve the new gas storage law’s goal of 90 percent by the end of the year. “There’s still a lot of work to be done.”
Government considers expropriation of energy companies – media report
The economy and climate ministry is considering the expropriation of energy companies with the help of a reform of the energy security law, reports Funke Mediengruppe. Companies that operate critical energy infrastructure could be placed under fiduciary management "if there is a concrete danger that without a fiduciary administration the company will not fulfil its tasks serving the functioning of the community in the energy sector and there is a threat of an impairment of the security of supply.” In extreme cases, companies could even be expropriated.
Vattenfall stops buying Russian coal for Berlin power plants
Utility company Vattenfall, which operates two coal power plants in the city state of Berlin, will not buy any more hard coal from Russia. The company is currently looking into which alternative coal sources are suitable and affordable, a spokesperson told public broadcaster rbb. Vattenfall also operates five gas-fired thermal power stations in Berlin, for which it mainly uses Russian gas. Around one-third of Berlin households also receive their heating – via a district heating network – from the Vattenfall plants.
Petrol and diesel cheaper in most countries neighbouring Germany
The Netherlands and Denmark were the only neighbouring countries where petrol was more expensive than in Germany in the beginning of April, while diesel cost the most in Germany compared to its neighbours, reports the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis). Drivers in Germany paid a daily average of 2.06 euros for both a litre of Super E5 and a litre of diesel on 4 April 2022. Among the countries directly bordering Germany, prices were lowest in Poland but also lower in Austria, Luxembourg, the Czech Republic, Belgium and France.
Germany should examine fracking, says Bavarian state premier
Germany should look into the option of using fracking technology to extract domestic natural gas in light of the energy crisis exacerbated by Russia’s war against Ukraine, said Markus Söder, premier of the southern German state of Bavaria. “We have to examine what is possible and reasonable with an open mind,” said Söder.
Germany agrees state aid for companies affected by rising energy prices
The government has agreed on a support package for German businesses affected by the war in Ukraine and sanctions against Russia – such as rising energy prices. “Doing nothing is not an option in this situation,“ finance minister Christian Lindner from the Free Democrats (FDP) said. However, the government could not suspend market forces forever or set wrong incentives with respect to the use of fossil energies. “We don’t want to curb structural economic change but prevent structural disruption,” Lindner said.
New gas extraction plans near German North Sea national park gain traction
Plans for starting new natural gas extraction off Germany’s North Sea coast are making progress despite protests by local residents and environmental groups. The economy minister of the state of Lower Saxony, Bernd Althusmann from the conservative CDU, is pushing for a rapid decision in light of the energy supply crisis resulting from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. “Optimistically, we can expect to have gas flowing by 2024, perhaps 2025,” Althusmann said.
Kazakhstan’s ambassador to Germany says country ready to replace Russia as resource supplier
Kazakhstan could become an alternative trading partner for Germany and the EU that can offer much of the goods and resources so far coming from Russia, the country’s ambassador to Germany, Dauren Karipov, told business weekly WirtschaftsWoche in an interview. The central-Asian country “has significant potential to increase Germany’s supply with conventional energy sources but also for producing and later exporting green energy,” Karipov said. “Kazakhstan is ready to quickly ramp up the economic and trading relations with Germany in a comprehensive manner,” he argued. Besides fossil fuels and renewable power, the country could offer resources like rare earth minerals, copper, gold and also food crops. “We’d be happy to welcome [economy and climate] minister Robert Habeck” to discuss further trade options, the ambassador said.
German economy ministry publishes advice to save energy in households
After keeping pleas to the public to use less energy to a minimum amid the Ukraine war and the ensuing energy crisis so far, the German government has now launched an efficieny advice campaign for households. Households in Germany cover around 60 percent of their energy needs with natural gas, oil and coal, the economy and climate ministry (BMWK) said. To reach the goal of climate neutrality and gain independence [from fossil fuel deliveries], “the best kind of energy is the one we do not consume in the first place”, the ministry said on the efficiency campaign website.
Germany boosts renewables with “biggest energy policy reform in decades”
Germany wants to fight the climate crisis and its heavy dependence on fossil fuel imports by speeding up the rollout of renewables with a massive overhaul of key energy legislation. In the “biggest energy policy reform in decades,” the coalition of Social Democrats (SPD), Greens and Free Democrats (FDP) proposes to lift the rollout of wind and solar power “to a completely new level” in a draft law amounting to more than 500 pages.
German industry supports Russian coal embargo, but warns against stopping gas imports
German industry association BDI said it supports the European Commission's proposal to ban the import of coal from Russia in reaction to possible Russian war crimes in Ukraine, but warned against extending the ban to gas imports. "The implementation is not easy and has its price, but the decision is more than understandable against the backdrop of the escalation of violence," the lobby group's head, Siegfried Russwurm, said. Russia's actions require targeted sanctions that are sustainable in the long term and don’t hurt Europeans more than Russia, the BDI said.
Italy’s consent to possible EU gas embargo on Russia ups pressure on German govt – media
A decision by the Italian government to support an EU-wide embargo on Russian gas imports increasingly marginalises the German government with its opposition to such a step over fears it could lead to severe damages to the economy and social order, newspaper Die Welt reports. “In the western camp, only Austria and Hungary are still on a similar course,” the article says. Italy, like Germany, is among the EU countries relying most on gas and other fossil fuels from Russia, but the country’s foreign minister, Luigi Di Maio, said Italy would not veto sanctions imposed by the EU on Russia’s gas industry. Italy’s government made the announcement following allegations of atrocities committed against Ukrainian civilians by the Russian army, which according to Di Maio would require a “strong reaction” that could not be hampered by economic considerations.
SPD state premier regrets insisting on Nord Stream 2, directs funds to Ukraine
The state premier of the northern German state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Manuela Schwesig from the Social Democrats (SPD), has said she regrets her insistence on finishing the now suspended Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project with Russia, which would have made landfall in her state. “With my knowledge today, insisting on Nord Stream 2 has been a mistake,” Schwesig said. Her state government had set up a “Climate Action Fund” co-funded with 20 million euros from Russia after former U.S. president Donald Trump imposed sanctions on companies involved in the project to ensure its completion, a move that Schwesig likewise called a mistake after dissolving the fund in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Schwesig said her state government had “acted on the premise that everyone, including everyone in Russia, has an interest in stable peace in Europe.” Russian president Vladimir Putin had eradicated this principle, she argued. The fund’s capital will be directed to support Ukraine, Schwesig added. The state’s opposition Christian Democrats (CDU) said Schwesig’s and the SPD’s motivation would not have been the interest of citizens but currying favour among voters by taking a lenient position towards Russia despite resistance by Germany’s neighbours and allies.
Germany must speed up green hydrogen scale-up in reaction to war – government advisors
Germany must accelerate the ramp-up of a hydrogen economy in response to Russia's aggressions to secure and diversify its energy supply, according to the hydrogen council (NWR), which advises the government. "The changed geopolitical situation due to the war in Ukraine makes it necessary to act quickly, decisively and flexibly in creating the necessary framework conditions for the hydrogen ramp-up," the council said. "In the medium term, hydrogen can contribute significantly to security of supply and diversification."
Environment minister reiterates nuclear plants no longer play role in energy security
Extending the runtime of Germany’s remaining three nuclear power plants is not an option even if energy supply security has become an urgent aim for the government, environment minister Steffi Lemke from the Green Party told the Bonner Generalanzeiger in an interview. “The share of the remaining three nuclear power plants in the electricity mix is not so large that we should accept the risks associated with a lifetime extension. The fact that nuclear power is a high-risk technology is being tragically demonstrated to us by the war in Ukraine,” Lemke, whose ministry is also responsible for nuclear safety, said. She said coal-fired power plants will be kept in reserve longer to gain wiggle room in energy security. Continuing operation of the remaining nuclear plants would only be possible with a long-term perspective for operators, heavy state support and concessions on safety. “In this crisis we need more safety, not more risk,” she said.
Chemicals producer BASF warns gas supply cut would disrupt economy and food security
A shutdown of Germany’s largest chemicals producer BASF due to a shortage of natural gas could have grave consequences for industrial production chains in Europe and global food security, business weekly WirtschaftsWoche reports. BASF with its vast production facility complex in south-western city Ludwigshafen produces essential base materials like ammonia that are used in many industrial products and, crucially, also in fertiliser production, for which the company is one of the world’s biggest suppliers. The chemicals producer is one of Germany’s largest natural gas consumers and uses about 60 percent Russian gas for its European facilities which would be difficult to replace in the short run. BASF CEO Martin Brudermüller said supply must not fall below 50 percent of full demand to avoid disruptions and ideally would remain at least at 70 percent.
Germany takes control of Gazprom unit to ensure gas supply security
The German government has temporarily taken control of Gazprom Germania, a subsidiary of Russian energy supplier Gazprom, to ensure gas supply security. Economy and climate minister Robert Habeck announced that the Federal Network Agency (BNetzA) will become fiduciary of the unit, which operates “critical infrastructure in Germany and is therefore of outstanding importance for the gas supply” until 30 September 2022. The move comes after it emerged that Gazprom had disposed of the unit, which includes energy supplier Wingas and gas storage firm Astora. The economy ministry said “unclear legal circumstances” had made the action necessary. The government is doing “what is necessary” to uphold security of supply in Germany, he said. “This also includes not exposing energy infrastructures in Germany to arbitrary decisions by the Kremlin.” As fiduciary, the grid agency is authourised to remove members of the management and appoint new members and to issue instructions to the management, the economy ministry said.
German govt continues to reject sudden halt to energy trading with Russia
A rapid embargo on Russian energy deliveries would hurt Germany much more than Russia, which is why the government continues to oppose such a step, Oliver Krischer, Green Party state secretary in the climate and economy ministry, said according to news website Der Spiegel. Reports about atrocities committed by the Russian army in Ukraine added pressure on western governments to respond. Krischer said the images of possible war crimes against civilians in the war-torn country would mean Germany must examine all possible means to reduce dependence on Russian energy as quickly as possible to achieve “a de facto embargo” by no longer buying or using Russian supplies. This could be done with “concrete proposals for saving, substituting and diversifying” energy sources.
German defence minister calls for debate on ending Russian gas deliveries
In a reaction to reports on possible war crimes against civilians by the Russian army in Ukraine, defence minister Christine Lambrecht (SPD) has called for an EU debate “within the next hours” on completely suspending gas trade with Russia. “There has to be a reaction. Such crimes must not remain unanswered,” Lambrecht told public broadcaster ARD. “It’s been our strength [in the EU] so far that no country pushed ahead alone but that we acted in close cooperation on the things that are endurable. The same thing needs to happen in the next hours.”
Government mulls expropriation of Russian gas and oil companies
The German economy and climate ministry is considering the expropriation of Russian companies Gazprom and Rosneft, Handelsblatt reports. The move comes amid concerns for national energy security, as Gazprom Germania operates large gas storage facilities and Rosneft Germany operates petrol, diesel and kerosene refineries. While playing a major role in the German energy market, the two companies have been alienated by business partners and banks since Russia’s attack on Ukraine and could fall into “technical bankruptcy”, Reuters writes. To avoid this, the government is thinking about stepping in, ministry officials told Handelsblatt.
Siemens and BASF warn Russian gas supply cuts would cause severe damage
The heads of Germany’s large, energy intensive companies have warned against severe damages that would be caused by a stop to Russian gas deliveries. “If we cut off Russian gas deliveries, the repercussions will be dramatic,” Christian Bruch, CEO of Siemens Energy told Handelsblatt. For some industries, a steady gas supply is existential, said Bruch. “Just take the glass industry. Once the systems go cold, they're gone,” he said, adding that it was questionable whether the affected companies would invest in Germany again afterwards. BASF head Martin Brudermüller even warned of an unprecedented economic downturn that could “submit the German economy into its worst crisis since the end of the Second World War,” he told Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung. An embargo on Russian gas would threaten the existence of small and medium-sized companies in particular, he said, adding that it would take four to five years to substitute the Russian deliveries with other sources. At the BASF plant in Ludwigshafen 40,000 employees could be affected, in addition to many products that are needed in the value chains of groceries and medicines, he said.
Europeans reject demands to pay for gas in roubles
In the latest twist of how Russian gas may be paid for by European buyers, Russian president Vladimir Putin said on 31 March that buyers should open special accounts in state-controlled Gazprombank to allow foreign currency to be swapped to roubles for settlements. If this wasn’t adhered to from 1 April,“we will consider this a failure by the client to comply with its obligations”, Putin said. After Putin’s announcement, German chancellor Olaf Scholz said that the contracts specify payments in euros or US dollars. “In any case, it is true for [European] companies that they want, can and will pay in euros,” Scholz said. Economy and climate minister Robert Habeck said in an evening talk show on ZDF television, that it wasn’t quite clear what Putin’s latest demand meant. The companies would transfer euros and dollars as usual, and the rest would depend on Russia's reaction, he said.
Minister warns that “physical issues” stand in the way of substituting Russian fossil fuels
There are “physical issues” that stand in the way of simply substituting Russian fossil fuels with other sources, Germany’s economy and climate minister Robert Habeck says. “We are looking for trains that can transport oil, when there isn’t enough oil in the east of the country. And, surprise, there aren’t that many,” he said. The same was true for the non-existent LNG terminals that could help with gas supplies, he said.
Much of the German oil and gas infrastructure is geared towards receiving supplies through Russian pipelines from the east and distributing these towards the rest of the country. Switching this infrastructure to reverse flows is a complex and time-consuming undertaking.
Germany says to still pay for Russian gas in euros/dollars after Scholz-Putin call
A day before a deadline set by Russian President Vladimir Putin to organise a currency switch for gas trade with “unfriendly countries”, Reuters reports that the government plans to keep the contract currency for gas exports to Europe unchanged but will seek final payment in roubles.
The German government said Putin explained the plan to Chancellor Olaf Scholz in a phone call. Putin said the payments would continue to be made exclusively in euros and transferred as usual to Gazprom Bank, which was not affected by the sanctions. The bank would then convert the money into roubles. "Scholz did not agree to this procedure in the conversation, but asked for written information to better understand the procedure," said the German government.
Gas and oil industry calls for “ideally slightly more” domestic production
The head of the federal association of natural gas, petroleum and geo-energy (BVEG) Ludwig Möhring has emphasised the role of domestic German natural gas production. “Our goal is to maintain production at the current level and ideally even expand it slightly,” he told newspaper Welt. “This value of supply security must be recognised and raised.” German domestic production has covered only about 5 percent of the country’s consumption in recent years. However, as more than a quarter of German energy needs are covered by natural gas, Germany is “well advised to take all resources seriously,” said Möhring.
Germany prepares for Russian cuts to gas supplies by issuing 'early warning'
Germany has triggered the first stage of its national gas supply emergency plan over fears that Russia might soon cut supplies if it doesn't receive payments from foreign buyers in roubles. The government called on all consumers to save energy and make existing supplies last longer, with gas storage levels currently running at 25 percent. The declaration of the "early warning" stage is a precautionary measure and supplies are safe for the time being, said economy minister Robert Habeck.
War must be turning point for Europe in ending Russia’s energy blackmail – Ukraine deputy minister
Russia’s war against Ukraine is an attack on the unity and future of Europe and its nations and must represent a turning point for the continent’s energy policy, says deputy energy minister of Ukraine Yaroslav Demchenkov at the Berlin Energy Transition Dialogue. European countries should not veer off their “planet green course”, says the minister who was greeted with much applause from the audience. “The war and the current energy crisis should be a turning point for Europe in ending Russia’s energy blackmail and achieving global decarbonisation goals.”
Energy transition can and must happen faster in light of war - minister
Russia’s war against the Ukraine has increased the pressure on Germany and Europe to speed up their energy transition as a way to not only fight climate change, but also lessen dependence on Russian energy, says economy and climate minister Robert Habeck (Green Party). “We can do what we had to do anyway to combat the great structural crisis of our time, namely galloping global warming [...], we can now do it much more quickly under great pressure and against a tragic backdrop,” says Habeck. “And we must do so.” With the right energy policy, countries could create a climate-neutral society, increase the prosperity of nations and promote peace in the world. “You cannot steal the wind, the sun belongs to no one,“ he says.
G7 call on gas importers not to comply with Russian rouble demands
After a meeting with his G7 counterparts, German economy and climate minister Robert Habeck said on Monday (28 March) that Putin's demand to only receive payment for gas deliveries to Europe in roubles was a breach of contract and therefore unacceptable. G7 ministers are calling on the companies concerned to not comply with Moscow's demand, he said. "Putin's attempt to divide us is obvious, but our great unity and determination shows that we will not be divided," Habeck said, adding that Germany’s approach of gradually becoming independent of Russian fossil fuel imports is accepted by G7 partners.
German chancellor Olaf Scholz reiterated on public television that a full energy embargo on Russia would risk “an incredible number of jobs” and would trigger “a considerable economic crisis”
No fuel embargo on Russia by EU
European leaders will not immediately pursue a fossil fuel embargo against Russia, the outcome of a summit concluding on the evening of 25 March shows. In their summit declaration, they said that the European Commission should present by the end of May a plan on how to cut energy dependency on Russia as soon as possible. German chancellor Olaf Scholz also remained critical of a proposal for energy price caps, pursued in particular by southern European countries but voiced support for a proposal for voluntary common gas and hydrogen purchases by EU countries.
Letting nuclear power run longer might require higher gas use in summer – econ min
This week’s escalation of the gas crisis ensuing from Russian president Vladimir Putin’s announcement to only accept payments in roubles for gas deliveries has again led to calls by politicians to let Germany’s nuclear power stations run longer. In order to save natural gas, the three remaining plants, which are currently providing between six and ten percent of Germany’s power supply and are scheduled for shutdown at the end of the year, should be kept running, Bavaria’s state premier Markus Söder said. But federal economy and climate minister Robert Habeck said on Friday, 25 March, that the current analysis of his ministry showed that for next winter this wouldn’t help. His ministry would reconsider in light of the latest developments, he said, but explained that for now the fuel elements are projected to last until the end of the year. Although it could be stretched by generating less nuclear power over the summer, this would then require the use of more gas and coal during that time. “That doesn't really work out, because the point is to save gas,” Habeck said.
Germany lowers petrol and public transport prices to relieve citizens
Germany’s government coalition decides a wide-ranging relief package to help shield citizens from rising energy costs exacerbated by Russia’s war against Ukraine. The government plans to introduce a 300-euro tax bonus for employed persons, lower the energy tax on fuels to the European minimum and offer 9-euro-per-month public transport tickets for the next 90 days.
Germany must trigger gas emergency plans after Putin's rouble demands - energy industry
Vladimir Putin’s announcement to only accept payment in roubles for gas deliveries to Europe rattles Germany’s energy industry and sents natural gas prices soaring. Economy minister Robert Habeck calls Russia’s move a “breach of contracts,” and the energy industry says that an “early warning alert” should be announced on the national emergency gas supply plan.
Ukraine war triggers surge in demand for renewable heating systems
The Ukraine war sharply increases demand for renewable heating systems, such as heat pumps, according to manufacturers. "We feel a huge surge in demand for renewable solutions," says Frank Voßloh, who is in charge of heating equipment maker Viessmann's German operations, at a conference in Berlin.
Lower Saxony requests state funding for four liquified natural gas projects
The energy minister of Lower Saxony calls on the German federal government to provide partial funding for four liquified natural gas (LNG) terminals in his state, Der Spiegel reports.
State of Brandenburg calls for delayed decommissioning of two lignite power units
In a letter addressed to federal economy minister Robert Habeck, the economy minister of the state of Brandenburg, Jörg Steinbach, called for two lignite power units in Jänschwalde not to be decommissioned as planned in 2022/23, reports public broadcaster rbb. Keeping these in reserve could help guarantee supply security if gas power plants are not able to run due to a shortage of fuel. The government coalition had authorised the federal network agency (BNetzA) to decide whether or not to keep certain coal plants in reserve and halt their decommissioning process.
Germany warns sudden halt of Russian energy imports would plunge Europe into recession
A sudden stop of energy imports from Russia would threaten "hundreds of thousands of jobs" and push Europe's economy into recession, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz warns. He says Germany will end its energy dependence as quickly as possible by speeding up the rollout of renewables and taking steps to save energy. With a view to EU leaders' pending discussions about the energy crisis, German industry warns the bloc is unprepared for a short-term embargo and must not take "hasty reactions with incalculable consequences”.
Environment minister warns against neglecting climate change because of Ukraine war
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine shifts the focus away from other crises, but putting ecological issues on the back burner would be a “completely wrong approach”, environment minister Steffi Lemke tells lawmakers during a budget debate in the Bundestag, reports Welt. The answer to the war in Ukraine, as well as to concerns about energy security, must not be: "We throw climate and nature protection plans overboard and get back into nuclear power," the minister warns.
High need for gas grid transformation to wean Europe off Russian supply – researchers
The European gas infrastructure would have to be changed quickly and extensively to be able to maintain supply in the event of an embargo or export ban on supplies from Russia, but researchers say the full extent of the transformation cannot be estimated.
Nickel shortage caused by Ukraine war could endanger e-mobility transition
German carmakers warn a nickel shortage caused by the war in Ukraine could endanger the transition to electric mobility.
Germany agrees energy deal with Qatar to lessen dependence on Russian gas supply
Germany’s economy and climate minister Robert Habeck launches an energy partnership with the Emir of Qatar which includes both the supply of liquefied natural gas (LNG) and cooperation on renewables. “It’s the Ukraine crisis which has brought me here – the attempt to wean ourselves off Russian coal, oil and gas as quickly as possible,” says Habeck. As a top global LNG supplier, Qatar could play an important role for Germany and the government. “The good news is that [the gas] will be made available. Now it is up to the companies to sign the contracts,” says Habeck.
Government coalition debates “mobility bonus” to cushion rising fuel prices
The German government coalition partners debate ways to lower the burden on citizens as energy prices have increased substantially over the past months. While the Social Democrats (SPD) and the Green Party had rejected a proposal by Germany’s finance minister Christian Lindner (FDP) for a blanket reduction of the price for petrol, financed through the state budget, the government now considers a “mobility bonus”. The SPD proposes this monthly payment to lower-income households, and the amount would depend on the income.
German govt’s climate policy has been through baptism of fire in first 100 days
The new German three-party coalition under chancellor Olaf Scholz had started its term at the end of last year with optimism to launch a vigorous climate action programme after two difficult years in a pandemic. But the “traffic light coalition” of Scholz’s SPD, the Greens and the pro-business FDP was not granted an easy start, as its first 100 days in office saw the first outbreak of a major international war in Europe since 1939. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has let Scholz’ government little onboarding time, instead prompting it into one of the sharpest u-turns in energy and security policy in decades. But while the war that has brought great misery to Ukraine also confounded German and European policy plans, the government still enjoys credit among voters that it can deliver change. Yet, the dangerous spiral of rising prices needs to be addressed if this support is to be sustained, observers warn.
Germany can cope with a lot less Russian gas, but not entirely without it - analysis
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.
Industry warns govt proposal for gas reserves could undermine supply security
Gas storage operators and Germany's energy industry warn that the economy and climate ministry's law proposal aimed at ensuring sufficient gas supply could instead undermine supply security. The draft law provides for minimum fill levels at certain times of the year, and states that storage users can be deprived of booked capacities if they do not use them. The German energy industry association BDEWsays the withdrawal of booked capacities could easily become counterproductive.
Government says it will launch 'major efficiency programme' soon
The German government announces a comprehensive programme for energy savings as part of its push to reduce Germany's dependence on fossil fuel imports. "As the federal government, we will soon launch a major efficiency programme," says economics and climate minister Robert Habeck.
Govt investigates why petrol prices have remained high despite falling oil prices
The German government instructs the country's cartel authorities to look into the recent spike of diesel and petrol prices and to take action on any indication of abusive behaviour. The cartel office says it was suspicious that prices at the pump have not followed the recent downward trend on oil markets.
Germany mulls hydrogen pipeline from Norway in bid to lessen dependence on Russian gas imports
Germany and Norway will consider building a hydrogen pipeline between the two countries in a bid to reduce Europe's dependence on Russian fossil gas. "It has been agreed that a joint review will be conducted with a view to make large-scale transport, including via pipeline, of hydrogen from Norway to Germany possible. We plan to rapidly commission a joint feasibility study on this," the countries say in a joint statement.
Energy industry calls for 'igniting the PV turbo' to reduce Germany's import dependence
Germany must urgently and massively step up the rollout of solar power in order to become more independent from Russian energy imports and reach its climate targets, the country's leading energy industry association BDEW says. "The German government must now remove existing obstacles as quickly as possible in order to ignite the PV turbo this year. Time is pressing," saysBDEW head Kerstin Andreae.
Environmental groups reject German finance minister’s fuel price subsidy plan
Several NGOs have rejected a proposal by Germany’s finance minister Christian Lindner (FDP) to reduce the price for petrol that skyrocketed in the wake of Russia’s attack on Ukraine through a state subsidy. “A petrol price subsidy would be an expensive support tool that encourages greater use of fossil energy sources instead of saving energy,” the head of environmental group NABU, Jörg-Andreas Krüger, said. While the state should be supporting struggling customers financially, this should not thwart the general trend towards reducing fossil fuel use and supporting more environmentally friendly alternatives, he argued. “The most effective fuel price brake is efficient cars – or even better, those that do without oil altogether.”
Support for nuclear and coal power rising among Germans in view of soaring energy prices - survey
In the face of soaring energy prices, exacerbated by the war in Ukraine, people in Germany are increasingly in favour of nuclear power if it can reduce costs, according to a survey commissioned by price comparison site Verivox. The survey found that 40 percent of respondents wanted to retain nuclear and coal-fired power plants for the time being in order to dampen the high electricity prices – nearly twice as many as just four years ago.
Germany plans new energy price relief for consumers
The German government plans a new relief package to help consumers cope with rising energy prices. The price increases overburden many people, says Green economy and climate minister Robert Habeck. "Extremely high heating costs, extremely high electricity prices, extremely high fuel prices are a burden on households, and the lower the incomes, the more so. The federal government will therefore launch another relief package," Habeck said. Finance minister Christian Lindner, a Free Democrat (FDP), wants to launch a fuel subsidy to lower petrol prices by about 20 cents per litre or even more.
Government debates new oil and gas production in North Sea
Germany's coalition government ponders the possibility of new drilling for gas and oil in the North Sea as a step towards more independence from Russian imports. Finance minister Christian Lindner from the Free Democrats (FDP) said the coalition should urgently revisit its agreement to ban such new drilling. The Greens say they are open to the proposal under the condition that other steps to lower short term demand are also considered, for example a motorway speed limit.
Majority of Germans is in favour of oil and gas embargo against Russia - survey
A majority of Germans is in favour of stopping oil and gas imports from Russia even if an embargo would lead to supply problems in the country. In a survey by public broadcaster ZDF, 55 percent of respondents support an import ban, while while 39 percent are against. To secure energy supply, 92 percent of respondents support a faster roll-out of renewables. But the survey also reveals majority support for extending nuclear and coal usage for supply security.
North Sea islands worried about gas drilling plans near national park
The German North Sea island of Borkum has voiced concerns over plans by the state government of Lower Saxony to allow gas drilling near the Wadden Sea marine national park. “The planned ONE-Dyas platform simply is too close to the national park,” Borkum’s mayor Jürgen Akkermann told public broadcaster NDR. While there is a border for the national park on maps, this would mean little to ocean currents in reality, Akkermann said, arguing that pollution by fossil fuel production would be a veritable risk. The concerns are shared by representatives of other islands in the region straddling Germany and the Netherlands, with eight of them already calling for a stop to any plans to ramp up drilling activities there. Dutch company ONE-Dyas B.V. plans to drill for gas in Dutch waters, about 500 metres from the sea border to Germany and 20 kilometres off Borkum. About 60 billion cubic metres of gas ready for extraction are estimated to rest in the region’s soil. Lower Saxony originally rejected the plans but reconsidered its position following Russia’s attack on Ukraine.
Energy minister visits coast region to swiftly proceed with LNG terminal plans
Energy minister Robert Habeck (Green Party) made a visit to Germany’s coastal state of Schleswig-Holstein in a bid to prepare a quick implementation of the government’s plans to build a terminal for liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in the North Sea port of Brunsbüttel. Habeck plans to meet with representatives of energy company RWE and the German LNG industry consortium, as well as with environmental and civil society groups. “We will need gas and especially LNG if we want to free ourselves from dependence on Russia,” Habeck said, arguing that building terminals would help to improve energy security in Germany and Europe. “At the same time, we factor in the switch to green hydrogen and hydrogen derivatives like ammonia right from the start. That’s how we get on track towards climate neutrality and create the conditions for it.”
Bavarian steelworks pause production because of high power costs
Bavaria's last remaining steel mill has repeatedly halted production because of high energy costs. Prices exceeded the limit for profitable production five days in a row, said Lech-Stahlwerke manager Thomas Friedrich. The steelworks use the same amount of electricity as a city with 300,000 inhabitants.
70 percent of German industrial companies expect serious energy price strains
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and its growing conflict with the West is leading to increasing uncertainty and concern in Germany’s business sector, the German Economic Institute (IW) says. In its survey of 200 companies during the first week of the war, the IW found that 62 percent of them expect either large or very large burdens as a result of increased energy prices. Among industrial firms, that figure was 70 percent.
German utilities call for emergency funding amid energy crisis
The German Association of Local Utilities (VKU) calls for government assistance in the form of financial security, namely emergency and bridging loans from state development banks, as well as energy tax cuts. “In addition to large suppliers and energy traders, municipal utilities are also systemically important and must therefore be jointly protected against imbalances due to short-term price fluctuations,” VKU says.
EU climate plans must become 'Apollo programme for energy sovereignty' – NGOs
The European Parliament and the EU member states must insist on improvements to the European Commission's insufficient plans for emission reduction to rapidly make the bloc more independent from fossil fuels, an alliance of German environmental associations says. "We are counting on the German government to make the 'Fit for 55' package the European Apollo programme for energy sovereignty," says Kai Niebert of the environmental umbrella organisation DNR.
Broad alliance calls for ban on Russian energy imports in open letter
A broad alliance of more than 100 prominent intellectuals, climate activists, authors and scientists calls for a ban on Russian fossil energy imports in an open letter addressed to the German government. "We all finance this war," the letter states, calling for the protection of poor households from the effects of an import embargo. Social peace in Germany should not be played off against peace in Ukraine, the letter says. The government has warned that halting Russian energy imports would put social peace in Germany at risk.
Germany must transform power system 'at Tesla speed' but tread carefully regarding Russian imports - econ min
The pivot away from Russian energy imports will require Germany to double down on its energy transition efforts and apply a speed similar to that of Tesla with its new factory near Berlin, economy and climate minister Robert Habeck said at a press conference following a meeting with state minister colleagues. “We cannot continue at our dozy pace,” Habeck said. The minister defended Germany’s careful treading regarding a full halt to energy trading with Russia after its attack on Ukraine, arguing that a complete halt to trading would “not mean just inconveniences at the individual level but immense damages to the entire society that ultimately could undermine other sanctions” against Russia.
Russian energy import ban is possible if Germany uses more coal – PIK director
Europe could manage to stop Russian energy imports by using more coal for power production in the short term, said the director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), Ottmar Edenhofer. "Yes, we could cope with enforcing this import ban," Edenhofer said, arguing that "you don't have to slavishly follow phase-out dates as long as the emissions cap is met."
MP proposes “car-free Sundays“ as an option to reduce energy demand in Germany
Social Democratic MP Nina Scheer suggests that private citizens can contribute more to save energy in light of the Russian war on Ukraine. Scheer proposes a revival of “car-free Sundays”, four of which were implemented during the oil crisis of 1973. “Car-free Sundays have not harmed us in the past and could also make a contribution today if a corresponding shortage requires it," Scheer says. Green party energy and climate expert Ingrid Nestle also suggests to “empower people to be mindful of their energy use,” for example with basic information on the effects of slightly lowering the room temperature, or using a washing line instead of a dryer.
Head of coal state wants to stick to earlier exit date
Coal mining state and industrial hub North Rhine-Westphalia aims to phase out coal by 2030, the date that the federal government is aiming for, state premier Hendrik Wüst (CDU) says according to a dpa report. It is clear that “the hope of being able to replace coal with Russian gas for a transitional period has now been dashed,” Wüst says. But as long as power supply is secure and energy prices remain affordable, his government would continue to support a quick end of coal, he says.
Extending nuclear plants’ runtime not advisable, German govt concludes
Germany’s government has concluded that prolonging the runtime of its remaining nuclear power plants is not advisable even in the current energy crisis sparked by the Russian invasion on Ukraine. “Following a cost-benefit analysis, a longer runtime for the three remaining nuclear plants is not advisable even in light of the current gas crisis,” a report drafted by the two Green Party-led ministries for climate and economy (BMWK) and for the environment and nuclear safety (BMUV) found.
Chancellor Scholz says Russian energy supplies “essential”
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has rejected calls for immediately ending all energy trading with Russia in response to its invasion of Ukraine. “Europe’s supply of energy for heating, mobility, electricity and industry currently cannot be secured in any other way,” Scholz said in an e-mailed statement from the government. The head of Germany’s government said the exempting energy trading from the current slew of sanctions was a “conscious” decision by European governments, as these imports “are of essential importance for the everyday life of our citizens.”
Biogas could “immediately” replace 5 percent of Germany’s Russian gas imports – industry
Biogas plants could “immediately” replace up to five percent of Russian gas imports to Germany with renewable energy, Horst Seide, head of the national Biogas association, has said in an article by news agency dpa carried by Der Spiegel. A prerequisite would be to remove the current support cap on biogas plant support in Germany’s Renewable Energy Act (EEG), which Seide called “out of date.” Europe-wide, about 35 billion cubic metres of biogas could be produced by 2030 and the technology could cover between 30 and 50 percent of Europe’s total gas needs by 2050, the European Biogas Association said.
Pump price for diesel fuel exceeds two euros per litre for first time in Germany
The price at the pump for diesel fuel has exceeded two euros per litre for the first time ever in Germany, according to motoring association ADAC. Partly caused by the increased demand for heating oil, the average price for a litre of diesel climbed to 2.032 euros, whereas E10 premium gasoline cost 2.008 euros. Since the outbreak of Russia’s war in Ukraine on 24 February, diesel prices have spiked by 33 cents, the organisation said, whereas prices for E10 climbed by 22 cents. ADAC’s Jürgen Albrecht told newspaper Der Spiegel that house owners would be stocking up on heating oil in expectation of supply bottlenecks and possible shortages in the coming 2022/2023 winter season as importers are expected to drastically cut deliveries from Russia.
5 - 7 March
Environmental groups urge Germany to present binding plan to end gas use by 2040
Several environmental groups are calling on Germany’s government to quickly present “a binding phase-out path for fossil gas” by 2040 in order to enable the country’s complete decarbonisation and reduce reliance on Russia as a trade partner. Umbrella organisation DNR and others said the “epochal change” triggered by Russian president Vladimir Putin’s attack on Ukraine has “put many things into question and reshuffles priorities.” The war must end as quickly as possible and measures to avert a climate breakdown go hand in hand with this, the groups said. “From a climate as well as a peacemaking policy perspective, ending the dependence on fossil fuel imports must become a priority,” they wrote.
German operators prepare for extending runtime of decommissioned coal plants
German coal power plant operators are making provisions for a runtime extension of decommissioned stations in preparation for possible energy supply disruptions as a result of the war in Ukraine. “We’re inspecting our facilities to remain ready if the government deems such measures necessary,” a spokesperson for energy provider RWE told the newspaper. Besides RWE, operators Vattenfall, EnBW and Steag also confirmed they are reviewing their decommissioning plans.
Govt will fund half of new LNG terminal in alliance with Dutch operator
The planned terminal for liquefied natural gas (LNG) imports in northern Germany will be co-funded with a 50 percent government stake in cooperation with Dutch state-owned energy company Gasunie and German company RWE, the economy and climate ministry (BMWK) has said. Money for the new terminal in Brunsbüttel, which is meant to reduce Germany’s dependence on Russian gas deliveries, will be provided by Germany’s state-owned development bank KfW. The terminal will have a regasification capacity of eight billion cubic metres per year and should be built “as quickly as possible,” the ministry said.
Treasury announces 200 billion-energy transition spending in independence push
The German government has earmarked about 200 billion euros for investments in decarbonisation and greater independence from imported fossil fuels over the next four years. Finance minister Christian Lindner (FDP) said the funds, which will be disbursed by 2026, will be used to boost the expansion of e-car charging infrastructure, hydrogen production, lower power prices and the construction of more renewable power sources. Lindner called renewable power sources “freedom energies” that can allow Germany a greater degree of energy independence
German industry urges careful handling of pivot away from Russia, rejects longer nuclear plant runtime
Dependence on Russian fuel must be quickly reduced in Germany, even though it is likely to cost the country a considerable “insurance premium” on energy security, says the head of industry lobby group BDI, Siegfried Russwurm. However, Russwurm says energy supplies from Russia should not be cut entirely in the short-term in order to avoid “sanctioning ourselves more than the aggressor.” Russwurm said coal imports could be replaced quickly, whereas the construction of new liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals will take at least three years. He firmly rejected reopening the debate about Germany’s nuclear exit, arguing that “coal is the true elasticity factor.”
Leading politicians warn against full halt to energy trading with Russia
High-ranking German politicians say they reject a full suspension of energy trading with Russia due to a lack of readily available substitutes for imported oil, gas and coal. Finance minister Christian Lindner from the Free Democrats (FDP) says renouncing Russian energy imports would mean that “prices in western Europe and around the world skyrocket due to the expected scarcity.” He warned supply bottlenecks could be expected by next winter “and we would have to discuss very drastic measures in response.” Green foreign minister Annalena Baerbock says that a boycott would need be very well prepared, as it would have to last at least several months. Markus Söder, conservative CSU leader and state premier of economic heavyweight Bavaria, warns an import ban would mean “it could become very cold and expensive” in Germany. By contrast, Norbert Röttgen, security expert of the conservative CDU, advocated for cutting imports “as much as possible” in a guest article for newspaper Tagesspiegel.
Russian attack on Ukrainian nuclear power stations
Following Russian shelling of a nuclear power station in Ukraine, the German environment ministry says it is watching the situation closely. The UN nuclear agency IAEA expresses concern over the safety of Ukrainian nuclear plants, and its secretary general Rafael Mariano Grossi calls the situation unprecedented. “For the first time, a military conflict is taking place between the facilities of a large and established nuclear programme." Some German politicians and energy experts had called for letting the country’s three remaining nuclear plants run longer, to make up for a reduced use of gas in power generation (see below).
Germans support steps against Russia even if they endanger energy supply – survey
A majority of Germans support the measures governments are taking against Russia even if they lead to problems with energy supply, a survey by infratest dimap commissioned by public broadcaster ARD has found. Sixty-six percent of respondents said they worry the invasion of Ukraine could result in cuts to Germany’s gas and energy supply. However, more than two thirds (68 percent) of all respondents said they would support measures against Russia “even if it leads to bottlenecks in energy supply,” while 66 percent supported them even if energy prices and costs of living increase. Supporters of the far-right populist Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) are the only group that does not support the measures against Russia if they lead to energy supply issues.
Chancellor Scholz urges former chancellor Schröder to resign from Russian company posts
Both the Social Democrats (SPD) party leadership and German chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) urge former chancellor Gerhard Schröder (SPD) to resign from his positions at Russian state-owned companies. Schröder, who has so far stayed silent about his long-criticised involvement in Russian energy companies Rosneft and Gazprom, as well as the Nord Stream 2 AG, this week saw the resignation of all staff at his Berlin office due to his failure to distance himself from Russian president Vladimir Putin and the Russian companies he works for.
“Don’t use the situation for a false debate on nuclear” – econ & climate minister
After saying earlier this week that all forms of energy that could help secure Germany’s power supply for next winter should be considered “without ideological bias”, including coal and nuclear plants, economy and climate minister Robert Habeck (Green Party) reiterates that he doesn’t believe an extended runtime of Germany’s three nuclear power plants would be a solution. Leaving all options open should not be misused for a false debate, he says. “The possible bottleneck we may face is the winter of 2022-2023, and according to all I know this [nuclear power] will not help us there. For the following winters we will have created alternatives,” he says at a press conference in Berlin.
Econ minister opposes Russian energy embargo
German economy and climate minister Robert Habeck says he is opposed to an energy embargo against Russia due to his country’s high dependency on imported fossil fuels. “That would endanger the social peace in the entire republic” he says. “Those who want to harm Putin, have to save energy,” he adds.
2 & 3 March
State premiers call for longer coal and nuclear run times
Dietmar Woidke, SPD state premier of lignite-mining state Brandenburg, says he no longer believes it’s possible to bring forward the 2038 coal phase-out date to 2030. Coal must play a role in the discussion on how Germany will secure a reliable energy supply, Woidke says, echoing similar demands from Saxony’s state premier Michael Kretschmer (CDU) and Rainer Haseloff (CDU) of Saxony-Anhalt. Green economy and climate state secretary Oliver Krischer says “[the coal phase-out] is in eight years' time, by which time we will hopefully be where we want to be with renewable energies." FDP energy expert Lukas Köhler says: “Even if we have to readjust the path, there is currently no reason to abandon this goal” of phasing out coal by 2030. Bavaria’s state premier Markus Söder (Christian Social Democrats) says he would prefer to extend the runtime of nuclear plants rather than using coal-fired plants to secure supply.
Two nuclear plant operators say extended use is possible
Two nuclear plant operators indicate that an extended use of the power stations would be possible if the government demands it and ensurs all the necessary technical, organisational and regulatory framework conditions. Earlier this week, nuclear operators told Clean Energy Wire, they were too far advanced with their shut-down planning, and were lacking both the specialised personnel and the fuel to continue operating the country’s last plants past the end of the year.
IEA advises delay of nuclear plant closures
The International Energy Agency (IEA) advises that “a temporary delay of [four nuclear plant] closures [in the EU], conducted in a way that assures the plants’ safe operation, could cut EU gas demand by almost 1 bcm per month". The IEA's Fatih Birol says "there may be a merit in rivisiting the decision" to shut nuclear plants.
Researchers propose longer coal usage if necessary, say total emissions are capped in EU ETS
A group of Germany-based researchers signed an open letter to politicians proposing that “for the next few years, all available coal and nuclear power plants should be maintained or reactivated.” They say that “under normal circumstances” they would oppose such changes. However, in the case of coal, they also point out that emissions of all coal-fired power plants are capped under the EU emission trading system (EU ETS) so that higher emissions today must be compensated by lower emissions in the future. “As long as the fit-for-55 reform of the EU ETS (especially the tightening of the cap) is not watered down due to the current crisis, the climate policy goals will not be compromised,” they wrote.
German conservative MEP calls for review of EU climate targets
In view of the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine, Christian Democrat (CDU) MEP Dennis Radtke calls for a review of EU climate targets. "We cannot, when we call for the hard cut with Russian gas and coal, pretend that this has no effect on previous climate policy plans," Radtke says.
Green MP demands new risk assessment of nuclear plants in Germany
Safety requirements for European nuclear plants should be reviewed in light of Russia’s war against Ukraine, says Stefan Wenzel, Green Party spokesperson for the environment and nuclear safety. “An attack in a warlike conflict has not been one of the possible scenarios so far. He adds that fighting close to Ukrainian power plants, the threats of Russian president Vladimir Putin and various cyber-attacks on Western critical infrasturcture in recent months “must therefore be taken very seriously – they are a danger.” He adds that it is “irresponsible” if two companies [E.ON and EnBW] now offered to continue operation with reduced safety requirements.
War’s knock-on effects could lead to Germany missing emissions reduction targets
Germany might struggle to keep up with emission reduction targets in the energy sector due to the knock-on effects of Russia’s assault on Ukraine, the German Federation of Energy and Water Industries (BDEW) has said. In an analysis of the war’s implications for Germany’s energy supply security, the BDEW said the industry will “assess all options available in the short, medium and long run to make energy supply more independent and resilient.” This might have “temporary effects on short-term emissions reduction targets,” the lobby group added. The BDEW also said the Russian invasion will cause already high energy prices to increase further, meaning there will be “undeniable consequences” for energy companies’ procurement practices. Even though Germany will remain an energy importer in the future, the “fast and massive expansion of renewable energy sources” is now needed more than ever in order to maximise energy autonomy.
Gazprom says gas flows to Europe via Ukraine to continue as usual
Russia’s state-owned gas company Gazprom said it isn’t planning any reduction of gas volume transport to Europe through pipelines in war-torn Ukraine. According to Russian news agency Interfax, gas flows are not expected in the week after Russian president Vladimir Putin ordered the invasion of Ukraine. Shipments will remain “large” due to the increased demand by European customers as a reaction to the outbreak of war. Ukraine’s gas transmission system operator reported a booking of about 106 million cubic metres for the last day of February.
Vattenfall halts dismantling of major German coal plant as a precaution
Energy company Vattenfall has halted preparations for dismantling the Moorburg coal plant in Hamburg as a consequence of Russia’s war in Ukraine. The Swedish company said it did not plan to recommission the plant in Germany’s second biggest city unless the government or the national grid agency (BNetzA) ordered it to do so, public broadcaster NDR reported. Suspending the dismantling of the modern hard coal plant would be a precautionary measure to assess the situation and keep options for alternative energy supplies open, as Russian gas deliveries could come to an end in the near future, the company said. If there are no requests to relaunch the plant, dismantling would continue as planned, it added. The Moorburg plant, one of the biggest of its kind in Europe, was opened in 2015 before being spectacularly slated for decommissioning just six years later due to Germany’s coal exit. Vattenfall plans to convert the facility into a hydrogen plant that will operate with synthetic gas produced by renewable power installations.
The outbreak of war in eastern Europe is sending shockwaves through Germany’s political class and is reshaping the energy transition debate, as the country’s most important energy trading partner Russia increasingly turns into a liability to international security. Plans to enable the country’s ambitious energy transition in part with the help of Russian gas may well evaporate if the spiraling conflict severs ties between the EU and Moscow. Read the analysis here.
Push for more renewables & options for coal and nuclear
Well before Russia started to wage war on Ukraine , Germany’s government begun to decide on a wide-ranging renewables reform that should make the country’s power supply almost 100 percent renewable by 2035. In a draft paper seen by Clean Energy Wire, the economy and climate ministry proposes higher renewable capacity targets for 2030, aligning the German clean energy path with the 1.5 degree warming limit. While insisting there would be no taboos when looking into supply security, minister Robert Habeck says that using imported coal for longer or letting existing nuclear plants remain online would likely not be feasible solutions. Habeck said that letting coal plants run longer “means a longer dependence on hard coal from Russia”, while buying coal elsewhere would create a dependency on other countries. Regarding nuclear, the Green Party minister - whose party is in staunch opposition to nuclear energy - said that he wouldn’t “ideologically reject” letting existing plants run longer but that his ministry’s initial examination had shown that “for the winter of 2022/23 nuclear power would not help us”. Preparations for the upcoming shutdowns are so far advanced, he said, that the nuclear power plants can only continue to operate "under the highest safety concerns and possibly with fuel supplies that have not yet been secured".
Germany's gas supply secure for winter and summer - minister
Economy and climate minister Robert Habeck said that Germany’s gas supply was secure for this winter and throughout the summer without Russian gas. But for the coming winter, the procurement strategy had to be extended considerably. “The most important step would be to curb our gas-hunger. We will very soon present a gas-reduction plan, in order to reduce our vulnerability,” he said.
Germany agrees on SWIFT sanctions
Dropping earlier resistance, Germany agrees with its Western allies to oust Russian banks from the SWIFT global payments system. The sanctions agreed by Germany, France, the EU Commission, the US, Great Britain and Canada will also limit the ability of Russia's central bank to support the rouble, a government spokesperson says.
Govt supports two LNG terminals
The German government will push the construction of what would be the country’s first two liquefied natural gas (LNG) import terminals as part of its efforts to secure energy supply in light of Russia’s war against Ukraine, says Chancellor Olaf Scholz in parliament. "We made the decision to quickly build two liquefied natural gas terminals, LNG terminals, in Brunsbüttel and Wilhelmshaven."
Plans to establish strategic coal and gas reserves
Economy and climate minister Robert Habeck says Germany will safely get through this winter even if Russia cuts of energy supplies. In order to prevent future supply shocks and reduce dependence on Russia, the government plans to establish strategic coal and gas reserves. Habeck adds Germany must speed up the expansion of renewables to become more independent of fossil fuel imports, and build terminals for liquefied natural gas (LNG) to diversify supply.
Germany opposes cutting Russia off from SWIFT
Germany opposes Russia's cutoff from SWIFT banking system over concerns this step will impact key energy and raw material imports from Russia. “There is a high risk that Germany will no longer be supplied with gas or raw materials”, says German finance minister Christian Lindner.
Russia attacks Ukraine after president Vladimir Putin declares war in a pre-dawn televised address.
Govt agrees wide-ranging plan to provide financial relief to consumers
In view of skyrocketing energy costs, the German government agrees on a wide-ranging plan to provide financial relief to consumers, including pulling forward the elimination of the renewable energy levy to 1 July – a move that will save electricity users 6.6 billion euros. The 10-point plan, which still has to be approved by the parliament, also includes a higher commuter allowance and additional support for recipients of welfare and unemployment benefits.
Germany puts Nord Stream 2 on hold
Germany puts the contentious Nord Stream 2 pipeline project on hold by halting the certification process for the already completed direct gas link between Germany and Russia. Asked about whether the pipeline would ever start operations, chancellor Olaf Scholz says no one could make a prediction at this moment, and "nobody should bet on it." Many German politicians, business associations, and environmental NGOs welcome the decision. [See our Q&A: What does Germany's decision to put Nord Stream 2 on hold mean?]
High prices endanger industrial companies
Almost one quarter of German small and medium-sized industrial companies say the high energy prices endanger their survival, according to a survey by the Federation of German Industries (BDI). “Rising electricity and gas prices are threatening to crush the economy,” said BDI President Siegfried Russwurm. The situation is already forcing companies to save on climate neutrality plans, the lobby group said.