BERLIN: Germany can reasonably hope to fill up its gas storage facilities at favorable prices for next winter, Economy Minister Robert Habeck said on Monday, but cautioned that the energy crisis in Europe's biggest economy is not over yet.
“For the year 2023, and the winter of 2023/24, I think we have a more than justified hope that we will have full storage facilities at the beginning of winter as well, and that we will then have energy security and stability ... also at favorable prices,” he said at an energy summit organized by Handelsblatt newspaper.
Habeck, who is also Germany’s vice-chancellor, said the country now has the infrastructure to import 14 billion cubic meters per year after building three floating liquefied gas terminals since last year.
But 30 bcm were still needed to compensate for the 55 bcm that were pumped from Russia each year through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, he added.
Germany’s storage facilities were 90.47 percent full, data from the Federal Network Agency showed on Monday, thanks to mild temperatures and energy savings.
If temperatures fall below 0 degrees Celsius, Germany would drain 1 percent of its storage per day, meaning the current reserve would be enough, Habeck said.
Berlin’s decision to reactivate and extend the lifespan of its coal-fired power plants was a climate policy “sin” but was a necessary one for energy security, Habeck said, commenting on a week-long protest by climate activists against the expansion of a coal mine in western Germany.
The European Commission aims for EU countries to start jointly buying gas “well before summer,” European Commission Vice President Maros Sefcovic said on Monday, an attempt to help countries refill storage and avoid a supply crunch next winter.