Energy: Germany takes emergency measures to secure its Russian gas supply and announces increased use of coal

As the war in Ukraine rages on, energy is at the heart of a showdown between Western countries and Russia. Faced with gas delivery cuts by the Russian Gazprom, Germany will take emergency measures to secure its supply, Berlin announced on Sunday (June 19th). These measures notably involve increased use of coal, the fossil fuel that emits the most greenhouse gases and is responsible for global warming. “To reduce gas consumption, less gas must be used to generate electricity. Instead, coal-fired power plants will have to be used more”the economy ministry said in a statement.

“It’s bitter, but it’s essential to reduce gas consumption”, reacted the Ecologist Minister of the Economy Robert Habeck, in a press release which followed this decision, which represents a reversal for this coalition government which has promised to phase out coal by 2030.

A “serious situation” after the drop in supplies via Nord Stream

The package of measures announced on Sunday also provides for a system “auction” for the sale of gas to industrialists, allowing, according to Berlin, to reduce the consumption of the powerful German manufacturing sector. New credits from the public bank KfW should also be reserved in order to ensure that the country’s gas reservoirs are filled, currently at 56%.

“Security of supply is guaranteed”but “the situation is serious”, summed up Robert Habeck. Gazprom lowered deliveries via Nord Stream this week by 40%, then 33%, citing a technical problem. But for the German government, this is a “political decision”intended to weigh in the showdown between Moscow and Western countries over the war in Ukraine.

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Despite the conflict, Germany continues to import almost 35% of its gas from Russia. This proportion was 55% before February.

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