Germany says it will restart coal power plants to save natural gas

BERLIN – Germany will restart coal-fired power plants to conserve natural gas, the country’s Economy Minister announced on Sunday, amid concerns about a growing supply shortage after Russia cut gas supplies to Europe this week.

The move is part of a series of measures, including new incentives for companies to burn less natural gas, announced by Germany as Europe takes steps to deal with the reduced energy supply from Russia.

Since European countries imposed sanctions to punish Moscow following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February, Russia has responded by cut off gas supplies to some European countries. Last week, the Russian energy giant Gazprom also reduces traffic through the Nord Stream pipelinean important undersea link carrying gas directly to Germany.

Gazprom blamed maintenance problems for the cuts, but European leaders called the move a political tactic by Russian President Putin.

Robert Habeck, Economy Minister and Deputy Chancellor of Germany, said in a statement on Sunday, setting out steps to be taken to ensure that there is more gas to switch to storage for water. This is enough to get through the winter. These include bringing back online Charcoal energy source was drawn to reduce carbon emissions, although the statement did not specify how many plants would be affected.

“It is bittersweet, but in this situation what is simply needed is to reduce gas use,” said Habeck, a member of the environmentalist Greens party. “The gas tanks have to be full in winter. That is our top priority.”

Germany has been heavily dependent on energy imports from Russia for decades. Last year, Russian imports accounted for 55% of the country’s natural gas supply. But after Moscow’s February 24 invasion of Ukraine, Berlin began buying gas from Norway, the United States, and the United Arab Emirates, reducing purchases from Russia by about 20 percent.

However, the government still insists that Russian gas will be needed to ensure tanks are at least 90% full by November – under a law passed earlier this year to ensure an adequate supply of natural gas, Mainly used for heating and manufacturing. . A third of homes in Germany are heated by natural gas, while it is used for only about 15% of total electricity production.

Laws allowing the return to coal use in power generation are expected to be passed next month. By the end of the summer, a model will be launched that allows companies to auction gas, as part of an effort to encourage German industry to reduce its reliance on the fuel.

Last week, Germany’s powerful industrial lobbying body, the Federation of German Industries, said that companies had turned to coal, as part of an effort to supply more natural gas to reserved. Many are also looking for alternative, more sustainable energy sources, stressing that such a transition takes time.

The German government recently called on people to cut down on energy use due to a tight supply situation.

“It’s clear that Putin’s strategy is to infuriate us, raise prices and divide us,” Habeck said. “We will not allow that to happen. We will defend ourselves resolutely, accurately and thoughtfully.”

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