Germany announces emergency measures to cut gas use
Germany announced on June 19 it would implement a series of measures to curb gas consumption and stock up on as much supply as possible ahead of winter, in response to a reduction in gas flow from Russia.
"We will reduce gas consumption in the electricity sector and industry and push the filling of storage facilities," Germany's economy minister Robert Habeck said in a statement. "Depending on the situation, we will take further measures."
Germany intends to replace some gas use in power generation with coal, running counter to its commitment to phasing out coal burning over the coming years to reduce emissions.
"That means, to be honest, more coal-fired power plants for a transitional period," Habeck, a member of the Greens, one of three parties that forms Germany's coalition government, said. "That's bitter, but it's almost necessary in this situation to reduce gas consumption."
Existing coal-fired stations will be upgraded to offset the drop in gas-fired power. Among the other measures, Germany will introduce a "gas auction model" this summer to incentivise industry to save gas.
Gazprom announced last week it was cutting gas flow via the Nord Stream 1 that runs to Germany by 60%, citing technical difficulties including Siemens' failure to return on time equipment sent off for repair. The engineering group told Reuters it was unable to do so because of Canadian sanctions. Canada said on June 16 it was in talks with Germany to resolve the issue.
Nevertheless, Germany's government has dismissed Russia's claim of technical difficulties as a pretext, saying the disruption in flow is politically-motivated. The leaders of Germany, Italy and France were in Kyiv on June 16 to formally endorse Ukraine's bid for EU candidate status. Italy and France have also had their Russian supply curbed.