Germany plans to order coal-fired power plants that were due to be shut down for storage, part of a plan to ensure the country can keep the lights on if natural gas supplies from Russia are suddenly cut short. cut.
A bill drafted this week by the Economy Ministry, led by Greens member Robert Habeck, plans to keep power stations that burn coal and brown coal, or lignite, so they can be started at short term.
The proposed settlement, if passed, would remain in place until March 31, 2024.
“This means that the short-term use of coal-fired power plants in the electricity sector is made possible on demand, when needed,” he said. The measure still needs to be approved by Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s cabinet.
Natural gas, largely from Russia, accounted for 15% of Germany‘s power generation in 2021, the ministry said, although it expects that figure to be lower this year in due to the rising cost of gas and the unrest caused by the war in Ukraine.
Germany is relying on affordable and plentiful supplies of natural gas from Russia to replace coal as it seeks to meet its target of reducing carbon emissions by 55% below 1990s levels by 2030. But since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24, Berlin has moved quickly to reverse decades of policy focused on importing fossil fuels from Russia.
This month, parliament passed legislation paving the way for the construction of four terminals to receive liquefied natural gas on Germany’s northern coast, including two floating terminals that should be ready by the end of the year. ‘year.
Germany has reduced the share of natural gas it receives from Russia to 35%, down from 55% at the start of the year. Most Russian gas passes through the Nord Stream gas pipeline under the Baltic Sea.
The International Monetary Fund warned in its annual report on Germany this week that a cut in natural gas from Russia was the biggest threat to Germany’s economy, which is Europe’s largest.
Germany decided under its previous government in 2020 that it would spend $44.5 billion to phase out coal by 2038. The new government, which took office in December, has postponed the exit date to 2030 and emphasized the expansion of renewable energy for power generation.
Efforts to build more wind turbines and solar parks were halted under the previous government. Last year, amid high gas prices, coal-fired electricity grew by almost 5%, accounting for around 30% of Germany’s electricity generation.