October 6, 2022
Germany announced measures on Sunday to reduce natural gas consumption and reignite the country's reliance on coal, as Russian cuts to gas exports threaten shortfalls for next winter.

Germany announced measures on Sunday to reduce natural gas consumption and reignite the country’s reliance on coal, as Russian cuts to gas exports threaten shortfalls for next winter.

German Vice Chancellor Robert Habeck said the country would need to return to coal-fired power plants “for a transitional period” while putting more gas into storage to get the country through the winter.

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“Security of supply is currently guaranteed, but the situation is serious,” Habeck said in a statement. “That means, to be honest, more coal-fired power plants for a transitional period. That’s bitter, but it’s almost necessary in this situation to reduce gas consumption.”

Habeck, a member of the Green Party, also said Germany is preparing a gas auction model to be unveiled later this summer to encourage consumers to save gas. In March, German lawmakers passed a gas storage act to specify that gas storage must be completely full by the start of the heating period so as to get through the winter with enough reserves.

The announcement comes after Russian state-owned gas giant Gazprom said it would further reduce daily gas deliveries through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline last week, blaming the reduction on maintenance repairs. Germany, Russia’s largest gas buyer in the European Union, dismissed the claims, arguing that it was a pointed move to increase prices.

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The new measure brings Germany’s coal exit plans to a screeching halt as it looks to address current energy needs. German lawmakers passed a coal exit law back in July 2020, which outlined a plan for the country to end coal-fired power generation by 2038.

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