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Germans cut gas consumption amid war, warm weather

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Berlin, Oct 21: According to the Bundesnetzagentur, Germany's federal network regulator, households and light industry in the country consumed less gas last week than the average for the same period between 2018-2021. The news followed a similar find from the week prior.

Agency President Klaus Müller said households consumed an average of 608 gigawatt-hours per day in calendar week 41, compared to 881 GWh/day in previous years — a drop of 31%.

Germans cut gas consumption amid war, warm weather

Weekly industry consumption was 1,152 GWh/day compared with an earlier average of 1,526 GWh/day from 2018-2021.

Speaking in the western German city of Bonn, Müller noted that Germany is currently well positioned to make it through the winter without serious trouble, despite Russia's invasion of Ukraine and what that has meant for Europe's gas supply.

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He noted the work of the federal government in filling strategic gas reserves as having helped get Germany on better footing, adding: "We're also seeing the first gas consumption savings. That is encouraging, we have to keep it up."

The Bundesnetzagentur released a tweet saying the same and noting that the weather in Germany has been comparatively warm of late.

How are Germans helping avoid an energy crisis?

To avoid an energy crisis this winter, German officials say citizens must cut gas consumption by at least 20%.

Beyond that, they say the country's liquified natural gas (LNG) terminals must be able to pump fuel into the national gas network at the start of the new year, and the annual winter drop in gas imports as well as exports to third countries must both be moderate.

Germany's reserves are currently at 96.49% of capacity, despite a halt to Russian gas imports in August — Russia had been Germany's main gas supplier until Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an invasion of neighboring Ukraine.

Deliveries from Belgium, Norway and the Netherlands, coupled with very low levels of exports to Austria, France and the Czech Republic, have all played in Germany's favor.

Floating LNG terminals will be used to further alleviate pressure.

What do climate researchers say about German gas consumption?

Researchers at Germany's Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) echoed the Bundesnetzagentur's pleas for cuts in gas consumption, calling it the only way "to effectively limit the damage the energy crisis has inflicted on the German and European populations and economies."

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"Our calculations show: A 30% reduction in gas consumption is possible and important," said PIK's deputy head of research, Gunnar Luderer, calling such savings a tool for "limiting gas prices and energy dependency."

PIK researchers are also calling for an expansion of renewable energy sources "flanked by increased use of coal-fired power plants for a limited time" in order to cut gas consumption by up to 50% by the year 2023, and 80% by 2025.

PIK says households can slash gas consumption by "turning down thermostats one or two degrees and only heating as needed rather than continually."

Source: DW

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