SHARE
COPY LINK

POLITICS

EU: German fracking fears unwise

The EU's energy commissioner warned Germany not to rule out fracking, a controversial method of drilling for natural gas - saying it could hurt the country's competitiveness, in an interview published on Tuesday.

EU: German fracking fears unwise
European Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger. Photo: DPA

Günther Oettinger, Germany’s designated EU commissioner, criticised his country’s scepticism of fracking, telling the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung that research had fallen victim to the “emotional” debate over the issue.

The government in Berlin is planning legislation to regulate the use of hydraulic fracturing, commonly referred to as fracking. The process uses high-pressure substances, including water, sand and chemicals, to dislodge natural gas from rocks deep underground.

Critics of fracking point to the environmental risks, saying it can cause polluting chemicals to leech into groundwater.

Members of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s centre-right Christian Democrats have reportedly been mulling whether to make the draft law on fracking even tougher, including a temporary freeze on new permits.

In his interview with FAZ, Oettinger said Germany must be prepared to take certain risks to remain competitive – and would be wise not to discount fracking altogether.

“I recommend that Germany, too, not say a firm ‘no’ to fracking,” he remarked. “Otherwise we will lose key competencies.”

The fracking business is booming in the United States, leading to lower energy prices and prompting a wave of investment from abroad, including from Germany’s biggest energy provider, E.on.

Germany’s Environment Ministry has estimated the country’s own natural gas reserves from rock sources like shale at about 1.3 trillion cubic metres – enough to meet Germany’s natural gas needs for the next 13 years.

DAPD/DPA/The Local/arp

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

ENERGY

Germany to turn thermostat down as gas shortage looms

Germany will limit heating in public buildings over the winter to save on gas as Russia throttles supplies to Europe, Economy Minister Robert Habeck said on Friday.

Germany to turn thermostat down as gas shortage looms

“Public properties – with the exception of hospitals and other parts of the social system, of course – will only be heated to 19C,” Habeck told the daily Süddeutsche Zeitung in an interview.

Public buildings and monuments will also not be lit at night, a measure already taken individually by some cities, as Germany searches for ways to save energy.

READ ALSO: Cold showers to turning off lights: How German cities are saving energy

The recent reduction of gas supplies from Russia, amid tensions over the invasion of Ukraine, has forced the government to act.

Europe’s largest economy, which relies heavily on gas to heat homes and power industry, is trying to wean itself off Russian imports, while avoiding shortages over the winter.

The government has mandated gas storage facilities to be filled almost fully by December and restarted mothballed coal-power plants to take the strain off gas-fired units.

A public information drive has been launched and the government has also subsidised public transport over the summer.

Among the other measures decided in July was a move to ban the heating of private pools with gas.

Habeck, who has said he personally is taking shorter showers to save hot water, said that “more energy savings are needed in the world of work, too.”

SHOW COMMENTS