The Economics Minister should be pleased: in the first five months of this year, Germans used more than 14 percent less gas than in the previous year. The reason for this is not only Habeck's appeals, but also the high prices. Meanwhile, the gas storage tanks continue to fill up.
Consumers in Germany used significantly less gas in the first five months of this year than in the same period last year. Nationwide, consumption between January and May was around 460 billion kilowatt hours of gas, as reported by the Federal Association of Energy and Water Industries (BDEW). That is 14.3 percent less than in the first five months of the previous year.
In addition to the mild weather in spring, the high gas prices are also a major reason for this, it said. Because even adjusted for temperature effects, the decline compared to the previous year was still almost 6.5 percent according to the association. "The decline in May was particularly clear: Consumption here was more than a third lower than in May 2021," the BDEW said. "Appeals to save energy or personally motivated savings effects play a role."
Meanwhile, Germany's gas storage facilities continue to fill up despite sharply reduced deliveries from Russia. As the website of Europe's gas infrastructure operator (GIE) revealed on Monday evening, the storage facilities are 60.26 percent full - 0.34 percentage points more than a day earlier. The aim is to fill the storage tanks at least 90 percent by the beginning of November.
It is questionable whether this will succeed in view of the restricted deliveries and the threat of a complete stop to gas from Russia. Gas storage compensates for fluctuations in gas consumption. As a kind of buffer system, they are important for the energy market. However, their importance is limited. Because even if the gas storage tanks were completely filled, their quantities would by no means be sufficient for the entire heating period.
According to estimates by the President of the Federal Network Agency, Klaus Müller, the gas storage facilities would only last two and a half months in an average winter to cover demand even without Russian gas. Germany is therefore desperately looking for other import options, such as liquid gas deliveries via floating terminals on the North Sea coast.