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Germany's Habeck thanks citizens for saving gas amid crisis

December 21, 2022

Economy Minister Robert Habeck said Germans are not using as much heating as the prior year, despite the cold winter.

A natural gas meter
Many Germans are watching their gas use this winter as costs riseImage: K. Schmitt/Fotostand/picture alliance

German Economy Minister and Vice Chancellor Robert Habeck on Wednesday praised citizens for their efforts to reduce gas consumption after Russia's war on Ukraine forced Europe's largest economy to revamp its energy policy.

Habeck told German outlets RTL and ntv that Germans are "really saving gas" and not using as much heating as the prior year, despite a cold snap in December.

At the same time, he noted that the past few weeks strained gas supplies as temperatures dropped below freezing. Yet, Habeck said this "doesn't change the fact that the inner attitude of most Germans is that they know that the hour has struck."

How does gas storage work?

In addition to Germans voluntarily reducing their consumption, Berlin has implemented an Energy Saving Ordinance to conserve supplies, with public buildings in particular required to cut back on the use of heat and warm water.

The rising cost of energy has also led Germany and other EU countries to back a natural gas price cap to protect European consumers.

Habeck still sees nuclear-free future 

Moscow's war on Ukraine prompted Germany to slow its heavy reliance on Russian energy, with Berlin then looking for other energy sources to meet the demand for gas and oil. Habeck said new energy infrastructure is being developed in Germany, with remaining nuclear power plants to fill in consumption needs in the meantime. 

German Economy Minister Robert Habeck sits in during a session of the German Bundestag
Habeck's Green Party opposes nuclear energy, yet he supported extending the lifeline of nuclear plants due to Germany's energy crunchImage: Political-Moments/IMAGO

Habeck said Germany will eventually be able to meet its energy needs without the nuclear plants, which were originally scheduled to be shut down completely prior to the current crisis. 

He noted the country's first liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal was opened in record time in northern Germany. Habeck said he would like Germany to continue new energy projects at a swift pace.

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Germany cuts the ribbon on first LNG terminal

wd/sms (AFP, dpa)