The Federal Network Agency fears a total failure of Russian gas supplies and is calling for greater efforts to save energy. The question is whether the upcoming regular maintenance of the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline “will become a longer-lasting political maintenance,” said network agency boss Klaus Müller to the newspapers of the Funke media group on Saturday. If the gas flow from Russia is “politically motivated to be lowered for a longer period of time, we have to talk more seriously about savings”.
The twelve weeks before the start of the heating season must be used to make preparations, warned Müller. He appealed to all house and apartment owners to have their gas condensing boilers and radiators checked quickly and adjusted efficiently.
“Maintenance can reduce gas consumption by ten to 15 percent,” said the head of the agency. “It has to happen now and not just in the fall.” In order to overcome bottlenecks in the craftsmen’s appointments, Müller called on all craftsmen to concentrate on heating and hot water supply.
At the same time, Müller warned against using the wrong accents when saving energy. “The crisis situation relates to gas – and not to electricity,” he said. Germany is not facing a power shortage. “We also have no shortage of petrol and oil. It’s all available. I advocate focusing the gaze on gas.”
On June 23, Federal Minister of Economics Robert Habeck (Greens) declared the second crisis level in the gas emergency plan, the so-called alarm level, because of the throttled Russian deliveries.
Müller explained to the Funke newspapers who possible gas rationing could affect. In a gas emergency, “we cannot classify every operation as systemically important,” he said. “We have to be very careful in critical areas such as parts of the food and pharmaceutical industries. On the other hand, products and offers that fall into the leisure and well-being area would be of secondary importance. Swimming pools are probably not in the critical area, as is the production of chocolate chip cookies.”
At the same time, Müller emphasized that the network agency sees “no scenario in which no more gas comes to Germany”. Germany can be supplied from Norway and the Netherlands, among others.
The Federal Minister of Economics assumes that the first two temporary LNG terminals in Wilhelmshaven and Brunsbüttel will go into operation at the turn of the year 2022/2023. The federal government has rented four floating liquefied gas terminals, Habeck told Welt am Sonntag. “Two ships are already available this year and are to be used in Wilhelmshaven and Brunsbüttel at the turn of the year 2022/23.”
His ministry is therefore working in close cooperation with the federal states. “Everyone is behind it here, because we ultimately have to set a pace that has never existed in Germany before,” Habeck told the newspaper. With the floating terminals for liquefied natural gas (LNG), Germany wants to promote the supply of non-Russian gas.
Hamburg’s environment senator Jens Kerstan (Greens) does not rule out a limitation of hot water for private households in the event of a gas emergency in the Hanseatic city. “In an acute gas shortage, warm water could only be made available at certain times of the day in an emergency,” Kerstan told the “Welt am Sonntag”.
A general reduction of the maximum room temperature in the district heating network could also be considered. For technical reasons alone, it will not be possible everywhere in Hamburg to distinguish between commercial and private customers in the event of a gas shortage, he told the newspaper.
Kerstan explained that a possible temporary LNG terminal in the port of Hamburg could not be operational until next May at the earliest. “In the course of July we will know whether and at which location a temporary LNG terminal in Hamburg is feasible.” The gas could probably be handled there from May 2023. The full results of the site reviews would be available in October, Kerstan said.
Meanwhile, the Federal Consumer Association (vzbv) warned against passing on the drastic gas price increases directly to consumers and called for changes in the law. “For many people, the price increases can hardly be shouldered,” said the head of the energy and building team at vzbv, Thomas Engelke, of the Düsseldorf “Rheinische Post” on Saturday.