Germany to launch coal plants as Russia restricts gas supplies

“The situation is serious,” Habek said in a statement. “Therefore, we continue to strengthen precautionary measures and take additional measures to reduce gas consumption. This means that gas consumption should fall even more, but more gas must be poured into storage facilities, otherwise it will be very tight in winter.”

Germany is heavily dependent on Moscow’s gas to power its homes and heavy industry, but has managed to reduce Moscow’s share of its imports to 35% from 55% before the war in Ukraine.

Habek said the security of supply is now guaranteed, despite the “deterioration of the gas market” in recent days. The price hike was “a strategy by (Russian President Vladimir) Putin to throw us off balance, raise prices and divide us,” Khabek said.

“We will not allow this. We are fighting back decisively, clearly and thoughtfully,” he said.

Despite Germany’s plans to phase out coal-fired power generation, Habek, a Green Party politician in the centre-left ruling coalition, announced a return to “coal-fired power plants for a transitional period” to reduce gas consumption for electricity generation. production.

“We are stockpiling gas substitutes on demand. “It is bittersweet, but in this situation it is almost necessary to reduce gas consumption,” Habek said.

Gas storage rules

The Habek Ministry is preparing “a gas auction model to be launched this summer to encourage industrial gas consumers to save gas,” according to a press release. According to Habek, industry was the key factor in reducing gas consumption.

In March, German lawmakers passed a gas storage law requiring gas storage facilities to be nearly full by the start of the heating season in order to get through the winter safely.

“For this, filling levels have been set: by October 1, the storage facilities must be filled by 80%, by November 1 by 90%, and by February 1 by another 40%,” the law says.

Gas storage tanks are now about 56% full, above average in Germany compared to previous years, despite storage levels at record lows at the beginning of the year.

“We must and will do our best to store as much gas as possible in summer and autumn. Gas storages should be filled by winter. This is the top priority,” Khabek said.

In March, Putin threatened to cut off gas supplies to “unfriendly” countries that refused to pay in rubles rather than the euros or dollars specified in the contracts.

Since then, Russian state-owned energy giant Gazprom has been offering customers a solution. Buyers could make payments in euros or dollars to an account with the Russian Gazprombank, which then converted the funds into rubles and transferred them to a second account from which payment was made to Russia.

But many European companies, including Shell Energy, refused to comply, forcing Gazprom in June to cut natural gas supplies to Shell’s German customers.

On Thursday, Gazprom cut gas flows through the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline, the main artery connecting Russian gas with Germany, for the second time in days, causing prices to skyrocket.

The Russian energy giant said it cut gas supplies because German firm Siemens Energy delayed the return of turbines in need of repair.

Siemens took the turbines to one of their factories in Canada for service. Tuesday’s statement said it was “impossible” to return the equipment to Russia due to sanctions Canada has imposed on the country over its invasion of Ukraine.

In response to Gazprom’s actions, Habek said that the announcement of a further reduction in gas supplies to Europe was an excuse and a strategy to increase prices.

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