Germany is currently working quickly to reduce its dependence on Russian energy. This is particularly true of coal and oil, as is shown by a progress report on energy security released today by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action. The report can be found .
“In the last few weeks, we have made intensive efforts with all the relevant stakeholders to import less fossil fuel from Russia and to broaden our supply base. We have already achieved some key interim targets to release ourselves from the shackles of Russian imports,” said.
The greatest progress has been made on oil and coal. “Companies are letting contracts with Russian suppliers expire, are not extending them, and are switching to other suppliers. And this is happening at breakneck speed,” Habeck added. Such contractual shifts will foreseeably reduce dependence on Russian oil to some 25 per cent; these changed supply chains will become effective as soon as the next few weeks. It is expected that imports of Russian oil to Germany will have been halved by the middle of the year. We aim to be virtually independent by the end of the year.
When it comes to coal, too, the companies have revamped their supply chains and altered their contracts. Thanks to these efforts, dependence on Russian coal looks set to drop from 50 per cent to around 25 per cent; this will gradually take effect as early as April. By early summer, a large proportion of the operators will have switched entirely away from Russian coal. By the autumn, we can become generally independent of Russian coal.
Progress is also being made on changing the supply of gas, but this is a challenging process. “We still have some way to go, and we will only succeed in ending Russian gas imports by all pulling hard together – the Federation, the Länder, municipalities, companies and households. We need to expand renewables, rigorously cut consumption at all levels, diversify, and rapidly ramp up hydrogen. By doing that, it will be possible to become largely independent of Russian gas by mid-2024. We in the Federal Government are doing our utmost to achieve this.” For example, three floating LNG terminals have been secured, for which RWE and Uniper have taken out options on behalf of the Federal Government. The government is also pushing hard to expand the infrastructure, and is setting up a major energy efficiency programme.
“While taking resolute action, we are considering our options with prudence. Even if we become more independent of Russian imports, it is still too early for an energy embargo. The economic and social consequences would still be too severe. But every supply contract which is terminated damages Putin,” Habeck said.