Business & Economy

Germany enters ‘alert level’ of emergency gas plan as Russia reduces flow

Berlin, Jun 23 (EFE).- The German government Thursday warned that a decrease in the supply of gas from Russia had prompted the economy minister to trigger the “alert level” of the nation’s emergency plan to safeguard the steady stream of gas.

Economy minister Robert Habeck told reporters Phase 2 of Germany’s three-stage emergency gas plan had been deployed as tensions over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine flared.

“We are in a gas crisis,” Habeck said. “From now on, gas is a commodity in short supply. The prices are already high and we have to reckon with further hikes.”

Despite gas storage tanks being 58% fuller than last year, Habeck said that the Federal Network Agency had warned the country could face empty deposits by the winter after Russian suppliers capped gas supplies via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline by 60% last week, citing technical issues.

The minister said that the alert level, according to European Union regulation, is declared when there is an interruption in the supply of gas or exceptionally high demand that negatively affects the supply of the commodity.

Under Phase 2 “alarm” level, the market is still able to meet demand without the need for non-market-based measures.

“It’s summer, but winter will come,” Habeck warned, in a call to take action now to ensure gas reservoirs will be full once the colder months set in.

The minister lamented the slow pace in recent years to promote the development and growth of renewable energies.

Habeck added that the government was pulling out all the stops to mitigate the impact of scarce gas supplies and to ensure energy security.

The priority now, he said, was to fill gas tanks, search for alternative gas supplies, build the necessary infrastructure and accelerate the development of renewables, in addition to reducing gas consumption.

He said that to reduce gas consumption in electricity generation, the government was mulling resorting to coal-fired power plants which he described as a “painful” measure from a climate perspective, but necessary as a temporary measure to get through the winter.

As part of Phase 2, the German government will provide 15 billion euros in credit lines to replenish gas deposits and a gas auction model will be launched in the summer to encourage industrial gas consumers to save energy.

Habeck reiterated that Russia’s reduction in gas supplies since July 14 was an economic attack on the nation.EFE


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