Germans asked to conserve energy to reduce reliance on Russia

Germans asked to conserve energy to reduce reliance on Russia

Germans should start saving energy to become more independent from Russian fossil fuels, Economic Minister Robert Habeck said, as Europe’s biggest country looks for ways to cut reliance on Moscow.

Habeck said Germany could become less dependent if citizens reduce their energy consumption, suggesting using the train or cycling instead of driving whenever possible. “I ask everyone to make a contribution to saving energy right now,” Habeck said in an interview with Funke Media Group.

With his newish government coalition reluctant to resort to mandatory energy-saving measures, such as a highway speed limit, in response to a war on foreign soil, Habeck has resorted to appeals. “Every kilometre not driven is a contribution to making it easier to get away from Russian energy supplies. We are also protecting the climate,” he added.

Habeck said cutting 10% of individual energy consumption was possible, adding that employers could contribute by giving employees the option to work from home. “Wherever possible, one could work from home one or two days a week again – initially on a voluntary basis,” he said.

Germany’s gas storage levels are at around 29%, a comparatively low level for this time of year. Normally, stores fill up on cheap Russian gas over the summer while demand is lower.

Experts have warned the German government to ensure high gas storage levels to be less susceptible to Russian threats in the coming winter. In March, the government enacted a law that ordains gas stores to be 90% full ahead of winter.