Germany is fast-tracking plans for new infrastructure to process liquefied natural gas (LNG).
But it doesn't want to get "too successful" in developing the LNG industry.
That's because Germany aims to generate all of its electricity from renewable sources by 2035.
Germany is fast-tracking plans for new infrastructure to process liquefied natural gas (LNG) imports as the country weans off Russian gas. But Berlin doesn't want to get too successful at it, said German economy minister Robert Habeck.
"In the short term we've been pretty successful at replacing Russian gas, but we have to make sure we're not too successful," Habeck said in late May, per the Financial Times.
"We don't want to spend the next 30 to 40 years building up a global natural gas industry that we don't really want anymore," Habeck continued, per the FT.
Germany is highly reliant on natural gas piped in from Russia, but it's trying to cut down on the imports as Russian President Vladimir Putin has weaponized the fossil fuel amid the war in Ukraine. In 2021, Russia accounted for about 55% of Germany's gas supply; by mid-April, it had dropped to around 35%, Habeck said on May 1, per S&P Global. Berlin is aiming to cut its Russian fuel supply down even further to 10% by summer 2024, Habeck said.
LNG — a supercooled version of natural gas that can be transported via ships — is crucial to Berlin's plan to wean off Russian gas, but Germany would need to build terminals to process the fuel after it's discharged from the ships, per Reuters.
Germany doesn't have any LNG import terminals now, but it has approved a draft law to fast-track their approval process to one-tenth of the time it usually takes, Bloomberg reported on May 10. The first terminals will be operational by next year, Reuters reported, citing the German network regulator.
But Germany's also in a transition to clean energy, as it aims to generate all of its electricity from renewable sources — such as solar and wind energy — by 2035. The country's strategy is to develop more renewable energy than LNG-powered energy, said Habeck, per the FT.
Amid a global LNG supply crunch, it also raises questions on how long Berlin can commit to import contracts — which typically run from 10 to 25 years.
"Germany is saying — we want all this LNG, but we also want to accelerate the transition away from fossil fuels, including gas," Frank Harris, Wood Mackenzie's global head of LNG consultancy, told the FT. "It's a mixed message."
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