Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Germany ceases Gas-Imports from the Netherlands by 2029


The German government decided to end the current practice of importing Dutch gas by 1 October 2029, according to the German energy regulator Bundesnetzagentur  http://www.bundesnetzagentur.de/cln_1421/DE/Sachgebiete/ElektrizitaetundGas/Verbraucher/NetzanschlussUndMessung/UmstellungGasbeschaffenheit/UmstellungGasqualitaet-node.html (German language version only). This decision requires a switch of the German gas infrastructure away from the use of Low calorific Gas (L-Gas). Currently almost 5 million gas customers in Germany are using L-Gas, whereas all  other German customers are being supplied with High calorific Gas (H-Gas) from Norway, Russia and Great Britain. The use of L-Gas is still widespread in the German state of Lower Saxony (where the biggest part of German domestic  gas production is taking place) and along the border with the Netherlands.

According to the German energy regulator Bundesnetzagentur gas production in the Netherlands and Germany is in steep decline and a switch to countries supplying H-Gas is required to meet German demand http://www.bundesnetzagentur.de/SharedDocs/Downloads/DE/Allgemeines/Bundesnetzagentur/Publikationen/service/UmstellungLGas.pdf?__blob=publicationFile&v=3 (German language version only).
With a view to making the switch, German energy companies and the Bundesnetzagentur claim that the end-consumer will not be affected. They are pointing towards § 19a Energiewirtschaftsgesetz. According to sentence one of this paragraph, the companies have to bear the costs of switching from L-Gas to H-Gas.

However, the paragraph also entails a second sentence, which establishes that the costs of changing from L-Gas to H-Gas do not merely have to be borne by the users of the particular grid where the switch is taking place. Instead, the costs have to be re-allocated amongst all gas grids in Germany. This might result in higher tariffs for gas transportation and such price-increases might then be passed-on to German gas customers. Thus, the end-consumer in the whole of Germany could ultimately pay the bill.

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