Amid Europe is planning to cut its dependence on Russian natural gas, German Minister for the Economy Robert Habeck has made an announcement that the nation will reduce its gas consumption by starting up coal power plants again.
In an attempt to shore up supplies ahead of winter, Germany took the “bitter but essential” decision to reduce the threat of energy storage by significantly increasing its use of highly-polluting coal, as per local media reports.
“This means using less gas to generate electricity. The power plant which are fired by coal will have to be used instead,” Habeck, who is a member of the Green party, said in a statement.
While Habeck stressed that the return to coal-fired power plants is only “for a transitional period,” the plan is at odds with Germany’s climate policy, which aims to phase out coal by 2030 completely.
Yet “the situation is serious,” Habeck stressed. “We are therefore continuing to empower precautions and taking additional measures to reduce gas consumption.”
He emphasised the need for Germany’s gas consumption to be brought down but also that it is imperative that gas be put into the storage facilities, “otherwise things will really get tight in winter.”
Security of supply is currently guaranteed in Germany, despite a “deteriorating situation on the gas market” in recent days, Habeck said. He stated that the soaring prices are part of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “strategy to unsettle us, drive up prices and divide us.”
“But we will not allow this to happen. We are fighting back decisively, precisely and thoughtfully.”