As Germany scrambles to stem the fallout from sanctions against Russia, Germany’s vice chancellor said this week citizens should work from home and avoid using cars to reduce energy consumption.
The announcement comes just a day after the German government said it would activate an early warning plan to prepare for potential gas supply shortages from Russia.
German Vice Chancellor and Economics Minister Robert Habeck told Funke Mediengruppe on Friday that every German should help reduce the country’s dependence on Russian energy. Habeck added that a crisis management team would be set up to closely monitor gas supplies.
Habeck made the remarks after the news that “Gazprom Germania’s largest warehouse is 99% depleted.” The head of the Federal Network Agency, Klaus Müller, made a similar statement in an interview with the newspaper “Die Zeit” that “in the event of a supply stop from Russia, the gas reserves in Germany will last until the end of summer or early autumn”.
Habeck also suggested that Germans could at least work from home “For the time being one or two days a week on a voluntary basis.”
As a rule of thumb, I would say: 10% savings is always possible,” Habeck urged “everyone to make a contribution to saving energy now” and announced a government campaign. The Greens politician said that saving energy is not only part of efforts to “become less dependent on Russian imports”, but also a “big joint project” that will help Germany in the long term.
Habeck also said that “drawing the curtains when heating the home in the evening could save up to 5% in energy consumption.” Lowering the room temperature by one degree would save another 6%, he added, arguing that while it “may not be quite as comfortable, you’re not freezing yet,” he added.
“It’s easy on the wallet and annoying [Russian President Vladimir] Putin,” said the minister, adding: “Moreover, we will protect the climate.” The list of measures proposed by the minister includes the use of bicycles instead of cars, and “not just on Sundays”, as well as the possibility of to Working from home as has been the case during the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown.
As we reported late last month, the European Union (EU) currently gets about 40% of all its energy from Russia, including 41.1% of its gas supplies. The EU also said it expects to remain dependent on energy imports from Russia for at least five years. According to Reuters, Germany is currently dependent on Russia for half of its gas needs.
So what happens when Germany runs out of Russian gas? Below is a video of what Germany is doing to deal with the energy crisis.