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“Putting sensitive gas infrastructure in Germany in the hands of Gazprom was not a smart policy,” says Reinhard Bütikofer, foreign policy coordinator of the Greens/EFA group in the European Parliament, referring to skyrocketing energy prices and historically empty gas storage facilities. Germany and the EU want to position themselves better in the future. Timo Landenberger analyzes to what extent strategic gas reserves or minimum storage requirements can be a solution.
It comes as no great surprise that the Greens in the EU Parliament are opposed to the Commission’s draft taxonomy. However, in the meantime, there is resistance across the parliamentary groups. We have already reported on the letter from some EPP members to Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, in which they express “strong reservations” about the draft. There is also strong dissatisfaction among the S&D Social Democrats, and clear criticism is also coming from the Renew Group. Lukas Scheid summarizes the mood in parliament.
The German government wants to push ahead rapidly with the expansion of renewable energies, and a 2-percent target for wind power has been set for the federal states. However, wind turbines can be a danger to animals. Unclear requirements for the protection of red kites and osprey, for example, make the expansion of wind energy more difficult. In the coalition agreement, the CDU/CSU has therefore agreed to work for clarification and legal certainty – also at the EU level. However, according to parliamentarians, changes in EU nature conservation law have little chance of success for the time being, reports Manuel Berkel. However, there is room to maneuver.
Energy crisis: high prices, empty gas storage facilities and the role of Gazprom
The liberalized European gas market is undergoing an inventory check: For weeks, consumers and industry alike have been suffering from prices at record levels, with no end in sight. Several gas discounters have already gone bankrupt because they could no longer afford the price difference between the spot market and their long-term contracts. Gas storage facilities are at historically low levels, and the icy atmosphere between the West and its most important energy supplier, Russia, is an additional cause for concern.
The European Union covers around a third of its demand with Russian Gas, Germany even about half. Part of this is secured on a permanent basis via long-term contracts, while the rest is purchased on a short-term basis via the spot market in order to remain flexible. However, these additional volumes have not materialized since last fall.
It is true that the current crisis already began in the summer. The economic recovery after the COVID-related cuts drove up global demand for fossil fuels and deliveries to Europe were lower. Prices rose.