Germany’s economy minister said Sunday that the country will limit the use of natural gas for electricity production amid concerns about possible shortages caused by a cut in supplies from Russia.
Economy Minister Robert Habeck said that Germany will restart coal-fired power plants and offer companies incentives to reduce natural gas consumption.
“That’s bitter, but it’s simply necessary in this situation to lower gas usage,” said Habeck, a member of the environmentalist Green party.
Russian gas company Gazprom announced last week that it was reducing supplies through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline for technical reasons, saying there had been delays in the repair of compressor turbines by the German company Siemens Energy.
Germany has come under intense criticism in the past, particularly from the United States, for its reliance on cheap Russian energy sources, which Washington has always seen as a security risk for Europe.
Habeck also said more gas had to be pumped into storage facilities.
“Otherwise, it will be really tight in winter,” he said.
As the Financial Times noted, Germany imported 55 percent of its gas from Russia prior to the invasion of Ukraine.
Germany’s plan to fire up old coal plants contradicts its climate policy, which aims to phase out coal by 2030 since its more carbon-intensive than gas.
Berlin is working on a new law to temporarily bring back up to 10 gigawatts of idle coal-fired power plants for up to two years.
While Germany’s three remaining active nuclear power plants have a capacity of 4 gigawatts, they are scheduled to go off the grid by the end of year.
If only someone had warned Germany about this predicament it now finds itself.
Oh yeah, President Trump said Germany is ‘totally controlled’ by Russia in a meeting with NATO officials.