FILE PHOTO: A general view of pipelines on the gas storage facility at the gas trading company VNG AG in Bad Lauchstaedt, Germany July 28, 2022. REUTERS/Annegret Hilse/File Photo

Despite greatly reduced delivery volumes from Russia, gas continues to flow into German storage facilities. From Tuesday to Wednesday, the filling level increased slightly by 0.3 percentage points to 67.5 percent, the Federal Network Agency reported on Friday in its daily gas management report. Since Wednesday, the delivery volumes from the Nord Stream 1 Baltic Sea pipeline have only been around 20 percent of capacity.

A new regulation stipulates that German storage facilities must be at least 75 percent full by September 1st. In order to achieve the goal, a good 0.2 percentage points must be added every day until August 31st.

Wholesale prices fell slightly on Friday. As a result of the renewed reduction in deliveries, they were still at a very high level, the authority reported. Companies and private consumers would have to adjust to significantly increasing gas prices.

For some, this is now causing outrage. Economics Minister Robert Habeck (Greens) was greeted with loud protests at a citizens’ dialogue in Bayreuth on Thursday evening and defended the course of the federal government. Despite the financial disadvantages caused by the sharp rise in energy prices, Germany should not tolerate the Russian war against Ukraine, he said. Overall, protesters were in the minority at the event.

Germany must become independent of Russian energies as quickly as possible, stressed Habeck. To this end, the Green politician wants, among other things, to accelerate the expansion of renewable energies. “We have to convert our energy system as quickly as possible, away from fossil fuels and towards renewable energies,” he told the newspapers of the Funke media group. From Saturday, for example, the remuneration rates for all new photovoltaic systems are to increase.

Habeck expects a “decisive boost” for solar energy. Up to 13.4 cents per kilowatt hour will be paid to those who put a new photovoltaic system into operation from Saturday. At the same time, the principle applies that renewable energies are in the so-called “overriding public interest” and have priority in considerations.

“That’s crucial to increase the pace,” said Habeck. In view of the current situation, renewable energies have become a question of “national and European security”.

Habeck again rejected the commissioning of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline from Russia to Germany on Friday. Germany must become less dependent and Russia has proven to be unreliable when it comes to energy supplies. Habeck also referred to the international alliance in Ukraine policy. The US in particular is firmly opposed to the pipeline.

Meanwhile, the African states of Algeria, Niger and Nigeria want to build a long-planned natural gas pipeline through the Sahara. The three countries signed a declaration of intent, as the state news agency in Algeria announced on Thursday evening.

The 4,000-kilometer pipeline should be completed in a short time, said the Algerian Minister of Energy and Mines, Mohammed Arkab. He did not give an exact timetable.

According to information from Algeria, the world’s tenth largest natural gas producer, the pipeline will be connected to Europe and will be able to deliver 30 billion cubic meters of gas per year. The three countries therefore also regard the project as an investment project, since Europe has been looking for other suppliers after the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine.

According to official figures, the costs for the pipeline are estimated at around 13 billion US dollars (12.8 billion euros), 90 percent of which is to be financed by Algeria and Nigeria.

Representatives of the states had already met more than a decade ago to plan the project. Oil companies such as Total and Shell have shown interest in the pipeline in the past, but years ago the Russian state-owned company Gazprom also signed a cooperation agreement with Nigeria.

Instead, Lower Saxony should now examine the possibility of a second terminal for liquefied natural gas (LNG) in Wilhelmshaven. According to the State Ministry for the Environment, there were talks about this with the Federal Ministry of Economics. A specific location and a possible start time could not be named. A new pier could possibly be built in one to one and a half years.