Berlin The austerity appeals by politicians have not yet had the desired effect: According to the Federal Network Agency, gas consumption by households and businesses last week was “significantly above the average consumption of previous years”. The numbers are “very sobering,” said Klaus Müller, President of the Federal Network Agency, on Thursday.
“Without significant savings in the private sector, too, it will be difficult to avoid a gas shortage in winter,” said Müller. Savings are also necessary if temperatures continue to fall, he added.
Given the well-filled storage facilities, Germany could get through the winter well, said Müller. To do this, however, three conditions must be met. “Firstly, the projects that have been initiated to increase gas imports must be implemented. Secondly, the gas supply in our neighboring countries must also remain stable. And thirdly, gas has to be saved, even if it gets even colder in the winter,” said Müller. It depends on each individual.
The storage level is currently 91.5 percent. The value is above the average values of the previous year. However, the supply situation is also much more tense because hardly any gas comes from Russia.
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With the support of politicians, German gas importers are trying to procure more liquefied natural gas (LNG) in order to replace at least a small part of the quantities that Russia no longer supplies. At the same time, an LNG import infrastructure is being set up in Germany.
Due to the lack of its own terminals, Germany has so far only been able to import LNG via terminals in countries such as Belgium or the Netherlands. That should change in the short term. The first two mobile LNG terminals – so-called Floating Storage and Regasification Units (FSRU) – could go into operation in Germany in the coming winter.
Federal Network Agency calls for a 20 percent reduction in gas consumption
According to the Federal Network Agency, gas consumption by households and businesses up to mid-September was in some cases well below the average consumption of previous years. Last week, however, at 483 gigawatt hours (GWh), it was 14.5 percent above the average value of 422 GWh for the years 2018 to 2021.
According to the Federal Network Agency, however, the week was significantly colder than the comparable week in previous years. However, the regulatory authority emphasizes that the necessary savings must be achieved independently of the temperatures.
The Federal Network Agency is currently assuming that a reduction in consumption of at least 20 percent is necessary to avoid a gas shortage. This corresponds to the savings target of the EU.
In view of the gas shortage artificially caused by Russia, the EU countries had undertaken to reduce their gas consumption by at least 15 percent from August. The average consumption over the last five years serves as a reference. Germany, which has been particularly dependent on Russian gas over the past few years, has to reduce its gas consumption by as much as 20 percent.
Some plants have already been shut down because of the expensive energy
In August, the federal government introduced two regulations designed to help reduce gas consumption. They include, for example, a maximum temperature of 19 degrees in public buildings and the obligation to check heating systems annually.
Private households and smaller commercial customers are responsible for around 40 percent of gas consumption in Germany. So far, private consumers have made little contribution to the fall in gas consumption. However, this is because gas is mainly used for heating here. How much gas is actually saved will only become apparent in the heating season that is just beginning.
The large industrial customers need around 60 percent of the gas. The consumption of these large consumers fell by 22 percent in August and, according to the network agency, was 1170 GWh in the last week, well below the average consumption of the previous years of 1679 GWh.
In core areas of industry, especially in energy-intensive sectors, the decline is likely to be significantly stronger according to industry information. Plant closures have already taken place here due to the high gas prices.
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