“If this minus gets so big that they can’t carry it anymore, the whole market is in danger of collapsing at some point,” Habeck said at a news conference in Berlin that was called at short notice. “So a Lehman effect in the energy system.”
Europe’s largest economy faces the unprecedented prospect of businesses and consumers running out of power. For months, Russian President Vladimir Putinhas gradually reduced supplies in apparent retaliation over sanctions imposed over the invasion of Ukraine. The standoff escalated last week after steep cuts to the main gas link to Germany, putting reserves for the winter at risk.
The heightened alert tightens monitoring of the market, and some coal-fired power plants will be reactivated. At the current rate of gas inflows, Germany would need 116 days to reach its target to fill 90% of storage capacity, which would mean it would take until mid-October to do so -- a time of year that households would usually start consuming more gas for heating.
Germany had to nationalise the regional banks during the credit crisis, and they are still under state control. It is increasingly likely that at least part of the German natural gas business is going to be nationalised. That might well be necessary to smooth the potential for rolling blackouts for consumers and businesses this winter.
The hit to US export capacity, which could last months, is putting downward pressure on US prices but European prices are now moving higher again.
The German Phelix Base Load price is back testing the December peaks.
Oil prices might be under pressure but that’s not an electricity generator.
The vast majority of European coal companies have disappeared. UK listed Bisichi Plc with a market cap of £24.5 million, is breaking on the upside.
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