Germany turns to coal as Russia curtails natural gas shipments

Photo Credit: Euroactiv

Gazprom reducing supply by 100 million cubic meters through Nord Stream pipeline from June 16.

Germany will prioritize coal power plants and increase natural gas in storage to reduce natural gas consumption as part of new measures revealed by the country’s Economy and Climate Minister Robert Habeck on Sunday.

“We will reduce gas consumption in the electricity sector and industry and push the filling of storage facilities,” Habeck said.

Europe is looking for ways to reduce its reliance on natural gas from Russia, which is either reducing, or in some cases, cutting gas to EU countries.

Russia, so far, has stopped gas supplies to Poland, Bulgaria, Denmark, Finland, and the Netherlands.

As Russian supplies become unreliable, Germany says it will resort to using more coal in the electricity sector.

“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 said.

The German government plans to limit household consumption and implement a mechanism to encourage less natural gas usage in the industrial sector.

As part of the new measures, Germany aims to open an additional €15 billion credit line from the German Development Bank (KfW) for Trading Hub Europe, the country’s natural gas market area manager, to avoid natural gas shortages in winter.

While storage levels in natural gas facilities are currently at 57%, the government aims to increase levels to 90% by November.

Russian energy giant Gazprom reported that gas supply through the Nord Stream pipeline could fall to 67 million cubic meters per day as of June 16, down from its usual level of 167 million cubic meters.

Meanwhile, Austria’s government agreed with utility Verbund to convert a currently out-of-commission gas heating power plant to produce electricity from coal.

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