Germany to reboot coal power plants
Denver Post; Sydney Morning Herald
The Denver Post reports that Germany will restart coal-fired power plants in an effort to conserve natural gas amid concerns about a looming supply shortage after Russia cut gas deliveries to Europe in June.
The move was 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 reduced energy supplies from Russia.
Since European countries imposed sanctions to punish Moscow after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February, Russia has responded by cutting off gas supplies to several European countries. Russian energy giant Gazprom also reduced flows through the Nord Stream pipeline in June.
In a related article, The Sydney Morning Herald reports Germany will pass emergency laws to reopen mothballed coal plants for electricity generation ahead of winter as Russian cuts to gas exports threaten shortfalls in Europe’s largest economy.
Moscow cut capacity on the main gas export pipeline to Berlin in mid-June by 60 percent, triggering alarm across Europe at the prospect of fuel reserves running out as countries cut ties with the Kremlin following its invasion of Ukraine.
Germany's economic minister, Robert Habeck, said bringing back coal-first power plants was “painful” but “a sheer necessity.”
“To reduce gas consumption, less gas must be used to generate electricity. Coal-first power plants will have to be used more instead,” he said. “This is bitter but in this situation essential to lower the use of gas.”
Habeck said he was working to temporarily bring back up to 10 gigawatts of idle coal-fired power plants for up to two years, which would increase Germany’s dependence on coal for electricity generation by up to a third.
“The situation is serious,” Habeck said. “It is obviously Putin’s strategy to upset us, to drive prices upwards, and to divide us . . . We won’t allow this to happen.”
The government recently called on citizens to cut back their energy use in light of the tense supply situation.