First gas flows from Germany’s new LNG terminal | DW News

2022. Deutsche Welle. The opening of Germany’s first LNG import terminal is a milestone in the country’s plans to find alternate sources of natural gas. The terminal, floating off the North Sea coast, was built in a record time of just under 10 months.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz greenlit the LNG projects on February 27 this year — just days after Russian President Vladimir Putin launched the invasion of Ukraine. The facility opened off of Wilhelmshaven is slated to feed an estimated 6% of Germany’s gas demand into the energy grid each year.

The Greek Debt Crisis. Europe’s Emergency Plan. Made in Germany.

In Brussels, the eurozone countries have agreed on an emergency rescue plan for Greece. The plan involves International Monetary Fund assistance supplemented by loans from individual countries.

What effect will it have on Germany? What do economists and entrepreneurs say about the compromise – and what do German voters think? Our reporter Kerstin Schweizer went to find out.

German government, customers search for solutions as Russia cuts gas supply

June 2022. Deutsche Welle. Moscow has reduced gas supply to Germany, Europe’s biggest economy, by 40 percent. German Vice Chancellor Robert Habeck called on citizens to reduce their energy consumption.

He said: ‘Every kilowatt hour helps.’ His goal: to refill storage tanks before winter comes. Currently, they are about 58 percent full. The government also encourages utility companies to extend the use of coal-fired power plants. Right now, Germany has 70 such plants that run on hard and lignite coal.

Another solution would be to extend the use of nuclear power. The country still has 3 nuclear power plants which are supposed to be shut down at the end of the year. An industry group now says they could remain on the grid to reduce the dependency on Russian gas. Meanwhile, consumers are turning to energy consultants to figure out how to cut heating and electricity costs.

How Germany’s disaster management system works

July 2021. Deutsche Welle. Unlike many other countries, Germany’s civil protection and disaster management system is deeply rooted in communal and municipal structures. The current flood catastrophe has disclosed major shortcomings.

When the first floods hit southwestern Germany last week, local emergency managers were the first to initiate rescue operations on the ground. But it would soon become apparent that the unfolding natural disaster was more than what they could cope with, and that responses would have to be coordinated at a higher level in the emergency chain of command.

It was high time the crisis managers of the affected counties and municipalities took over, coordinating assignments of police, firefighters and paramedics to help save lives and provide assistance where needed.

Germany has a total of 294 counties and 107 self-governing municipalities, including major cities such as Potsdam, Cologne and Leipzig. In big emergencies, county governors can request assistance from other, less affected, regions to pool their crisis-fighting capabilities in task forces. Those are usually set up and run by a regional state government, of which there are 16 in Germany’s federal state-based political system. 

Germany’s nationwide emergency warning day hitches

September 2020. For the first time in almost 30 years, Germany carried out a nationwide emergency warning day. But not everything went as planned. For those living in or visiting Germany on Thursday, things got loud this morning.

At 11 a.m. sharp (0900 GMT) Germany carried out a nationwide test of its civil alarm systems — with everything from sirens to push notifications on smartphones being tested. The test was slated to run for exactly 20 minutes. It’s the first test of its kind since Germany was reunified in 1991.

The German approach to emergency/disaster management

Disaster control and disaster relief in Germany are public tasks. The German system is based on the principle of subsidiarity between official and private institutions. A lot of official and private relief organisations are responsible for the execution of disaster relief tasks.

In Germany the following organisations exist: Official (GO): Technisches Hilfswerk (THW/Federal Technical Support Service), Feuerwehren (Fire Brigades/professionals and volunteers) Academie of Emergency Planning and Civil Defense Private (NGO): Arbeiter-Samariter-Bund Deutschland (ASB/Workers’ Samaritan Association Germany), Deutsche Gesellschaft zur Rettung Schiffbruchiger (DGzRS, German Lifesaving Association), Deutsches Rotes Kreuz (DRK/German Red Cross), Johanniter-Unfall-Hilfe (JUH/St. John’s Ambulance), Malteser Hilfsdienst (MEID/Maltese-Relief-Organisation).

The German constitution allows to call the federal army in case of disaster, to support the disaster relief organisations (for example: flood Oder River 1997, train-crash “ICE” 1998). In all counties and district free cities disaster control staffs are set up by the administration.

Germany’s emergency gas plan explained

The cut in Russian gas supplies has Germany enacting the second phase of their gas emergency plan. What do these plans entail?

On 23 June, Germany triggered the second stage of their emergency gas plan in response to the cut in Russian gas supplies since 14 June and the high price levels. A gas crisis team, which was already set up when the first emergency level was declared in late March, meets daily to monitor and assess the situation.  

While the security of supply is currently still guaranteed, “the situation is tense”, according to the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action. If the Russian gas supply remains low, it will complicate achieving storage level targets by winter. Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Protection Robert Habeck called the current situation “serious”, referring to gas as a “scarce commodity”.