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Nuclear, coal, LNG: ‘no taboos’ in Germany’s energy about-face

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A woman cleans the inside of an exhibit representing a natural gas pipeline at the booth of Nord Stream during final preparations at the “Hannover Messe” industrial trade fair in Hannover April 15, 2007. REUTERS/Christian Charisius/File Photo

BERLIN (Reuters) -The German government had asked utility firm Uniper to resume its plans to build a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in Wilhelmshaven, Handelsblatt newspaper reported on Sunday, as Germany steps up its plans to cut dependence on Russian gas.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Sunday said Germany will make good on plans to build two LNG terminals and up its natural gas reserves to cut its dependence on Russian gas after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“We will do more to ensure secure energy supply for our country,” he told lawmakers in a special Bundestag session called to address the Ukraine crisis.

Scholz said the two LNG terminals will be in Brunsbuettel and Wilhelmshaven. Uniper has an LNG terminal in Wilhelmshaven which it had shelved in 2020, citing reluctance by market players to make binding bookings for import capacities.

The government is now in talks with the Dusseldorf-based firm to resume building the terminal, Handelsblatt reported, citing people familiar with matter.

Uniper was not immediately available for comment and the Economy Ministry declined to comment.

Germany has been under pressure from other Western nations to become less dependent on Russian gas, but its plans to phase out coal-fired power plants by 2030 and to shut its nuclear power plants have left it with few options.

Energy ministers from European Union countries will on Monday discuss preparations for potential energy supply shocks and measures to shore up gas stocks following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Earlier this week Germany halted the $11 billion Nord Stream 2 Baltic Sea gas pipeline project, Europe’s most divisive energy project, in response to Russia’s actions toward Ukraine.

Russia has since invaded Ukraine, prompting the West to slap further sanctions on Moscow and making the energy supply issue even more pressing.

“The events of the past few days have shown us that responsible, forward-looking energy policy is decisive not only for our economy and the environment. It is also decisive for our security,” Scholz said on Sunday.

The quicker Germany can expand renewable energy generation, the better, he said.

In addition, Germany will increase the volume of natural gas in its storage facilities by 2 billion cubic metres (bcm) via long-term options and will buy additional natural gas on world markets in coordination with the European Union, he said.

Germany has 24 bcm of underground caverns of gas storage, which are currently around 30% full, according to industry group Gas Infrastructure Europe data.

He had signalled his support for the construction of LNG terminals when he was finance minister and deputy chancellor in the previous government, but little progress was made.

Germany in talks with Uniper over LNG terminal – paper

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