State should have more influence

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Robert Habeck (Greens, left), Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Protection, and Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) are talking in the Federal Chancellery. © Bernd von Jutrczenka/dpa

In view of the Ukraine conflict, Habeck wants to give the state more control over natural gas reserves. Opportunities should be improved for next winter.

Berlin – Federal Economics and Climate Protection Minister Robert Habeck (Greens) is currently heavily focused on the topic of energies. He came to Bavaria for his inaugural visit to discuss wind power and distance rules with Prime Minister Markus Söder (CSU). Now he revealed another position: Habeck wants more state control over the natural gas reserves in Germany.

Habeck: The state should have more control over natural gas reserves

At the moment, the options in this area are still very limited, said the Green politician Spiegel according to the pre-notification from Friday. The winter has shown that Germany with reduced stocks is more susceptible to price fluctuations and geopolitical tensions. “That’s why we have to improve the possibilities of making provisions for next winter so that the gas storage tanks are well filled,” said Habeck. “I see that as a political task.”

Gas storage compensates for fluctuations in gas consumption and thus forms a kind of buffer system for the market. The stores are currently significantly emptier than usual in January. By far the largest gas supplier in Germany is Russia. (Traffic lights ahead of big tasks – you can find out what the SPD, Greens and FDP are planning in our political newsletter.)

Green Minister Habeck also sees other options for sources of gas besides Russia

If deliveries from Russia fail to materialize, Habeck says it is possible to switch to other sources of supply. The newly created EU landing capacities for liquefied natural gas (LNG) in the Netherlands, Poland and Italy are only 30 percent utilised. “If you were to increase it to 100 percent, it would be possible to handle large parts of the imports via LNG in terms of capacity.” But the question of price has not yet been taken into account.

In the case of Nord Stream 2, Habeck advocated a tough stance on Russia. The gas pipeline has always been a geopolitical project, he said. Germany would not have to pay the operators of Nord Stream 2 any compensation if the pipeline was not licensed. If the currently suspended certification process is resumed, the Federal Network Agency will decide whether the requirements for approval are met. “And if that’s not the case, then no compensation is due.” (dpa / food)

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