German Households, Companies Urged to Continue Energy Savings
(Bloomberg) -- Germany is in a “much better place” in terms of energy supply than six months ago but there is still an immediate need for households and companies to reduce consumption, according to a deputy economy minister.
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Franziska Brantner, a state secretary in the Economy and Climate Ministry in Berlin, warned of the risk that falling prices could promote complacency and lead Germany to miss its target of curbing gas usage over the winter by a fifth.
“On the one side we’re happy that prices have come down again but as soon as prices go down usually demand goes up,” Brantner said Monday in an interview with Bloomberg Television.
“So we also need to keep on saving energy as citizens, as companies in Germany to keep the targets,” added the 43-year-old, a lawmaker with the Greens party.
Germany relied on Russia for more than half of its gas imports before Kremlin forces invaded Ukraine and is increasingly turning to LNG to fill the gap after Moscow halted pipeline supplies.
Relatively mild weather and ample storage have significantly reduced the risk of a serious supply disruption in Europe’s biggest economy but officials led by Chancellor Olaf Scholz have repeatedly warned against complacency.
Partly prompted by a cold snap, consumers only cut gas use 8.6% below the 2018-2021 average in the final week of January, well below the government’s 20% target, according to the latest data from the Federal Network Agency.
Brantner said her government has moved quickly in recent months to end “years of deadlock” and speed up the rollout of renewables, and also highlighted the pace with which Germany has installed new floating LNG terminals on the north coast to replace Russian supply.
“I’m more confident than if you had asked me half a year ago, because we’ve been able to achieve really quite a lot,” Brantner said. “I think we’re in a much better place now.”
--With assistance from John Ainger and Zoe Schneeweiss.
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