What should we do now

What should we do now

“We will do everything we can to make sure Germany’s energy supply is secure,” Economics and Climate Protection Minister Robert Hebeck said in a hastily called press conference yesterday. Germany imports 35 percent of its oil from Russia. But there is a national oil reserve that ensures independence from imports for ninety days. “So that we’re on the safe side with oil,” Hebek said. Germany’s economy could face a prolonged import deficit and high prices.

Ulf von Rauchupto

Editor in the “Science” section of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sunday newspaper.

According to Habeck, Germany gets about 55 percent of its natural gas from Russia. Before winter, the gas storage tanks were not filled well enough to pass through the winter safely. “We fixed it.” Various measures and acquisitions have made it possible to stabilize the fill levels in storage tanks. Volumes are now in line with an average year like 2017. Now we can safely get through this winter and the gas supply is safe, even if prices explode or Russia cuts or completely shuts down gas supplies. With a view to next winter, Hebek said further measures were being taken. In the future, the owners of gas storage facilities should be obliged to completely fill the storage facilities before the onset of cold weather. Relevant legislation will be introduced. In addition, terminals for liquefied gas are to be established in Germany.

Germany also has a fifty percent import dependence on Russian coal. Hebek announced that his ministry would take care of the “coal reserves”. With gas, the objective is to ensure that the security of supply is always in place, even in the event of raw material restrictions.

Robert Hebek at Friday's press conference

Robert Hebek at Friday’s press conference

Image: DPA

In addition, Hebek said, with the accelerated expansion of renewable energy it is important to promote independence from coal, gas and oil as quickly as possible. This gives a geopolitical dimension to the energy transition, apart from the climate protection aspect. For Easter, the federal government has announced a package of laws with which the energy transition should finally pick up pace again. But shouldn’t politicians correct the timetable and plans for a coal phase-out given the Ukraine crisis? Several researchers and energy experts have told the “Science Media Center” in Cologne what priorities politicians should set in spite of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

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