Germany is turning to coal, while Russia is cutting off gas supplies

Germany plans to offset cuts in Russian gas supplies by increasing the burning of coal, the world’s most carbon-rich fossil fuel.

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Germany said the deteriorating gas market meant that Europe’s largest economy needed to limit the use of natural gas for electricity generation and burn more coal for a “transitional period”.

Economy Minister Robert Habeck warned on Sunday that the situation would be “really difficult in the winter” without safeguards to prevent supply shortages.

As a result, Germany will seek to compensate for the reduction in Russian gas supplies by increasing coal combustion, the most carbon-intensive fossil fuel in terms of emissions and therefore the most important replacement target in the transition to renewable alternatives.

“It is bitter, but in this situation it is almost necessary to reduce gas consumption. We must and will do everything possible to store as much gas as possible in the summer and autumn,” Habek of the Green Party said in a statement. translation.

“Gas storage reserves must be full in the winter. This is a top priority,” he added.

This comes shortly after a ominous warning from Russia, state-backed energy giant Gazprom has exacerbated fears of a complete cut in supplies to the European Union.

Last week, Gazprom said it had further limited supplies on the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline, which runs from Russia to Germany under the Baltic Sea.

German Economy Minister Robert Habeck said “the tense situation and high prices are a direct consequence of Putin’s war of aggression against Ukraine.”

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Gazprom cited a technical problem with supply disruptions, saying the problem stemmed from the delayed return of equipment serviced by Germany’s Siemens Energy to Canada.

Habek dismissed the allegation, saying the move was politically motivated and aimed to upset the region and raise gas prices.

It is not yet known when and whether Nord Stream 1 gas flows will return to normal.

“Our product, our rules”

In fiery comments that may have sent alarm bells to European capitals, Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller said on Thursday that Russia would play by its own rules after the company halved supplies to Germany.

“Our product, our rules. We don’t play by rules we didn’t create,” Miller said during a panel session in St. Louis. International Economic Forum in St. Petersburg, according to The Moscow Times.

Italy, Austria and Slovakia have also reported cuts in supplies from Russia.

Politicians in Europe are currently trying to fill underground storage facilities with natural gas to provide households with enough fuel to keep lighting and homes warm before the cold returns.

The EU, which receives approximately 40% of its gas through Russia’s pipeline, is trying to quickly reduce its dependence on Russian hydrocarbons in response to months of Kremlin attacks on Ukraine.

“The tense situation and high prices are a direct consequence of Putin’s aggressive war against Ukraine. There is no mistake. Moreover, obviously Putin’s strategy is to upset us, raise prices and divide us. We will not allow this. We defend decisively, precisely and thoughtfully, “Habek said.

The capacity of warehouses in Germany is currently about 56%, which is above storage levels in the same period last year, Habek said.

“Missing quantities can still be replaced and gas storage tanks are still being filled, albeit at high prices. Security of supply is currently guaranteed, but the situation is serious,” he added.

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