Germany takes 'bitter' decision to fire up coal power plants as Russia chokes off its vital natural gas supplies

Posted 3 days ago


* Germany has taken the "bitter" decision to fire up coal power stations as Russia throttles its natural gas supplies.

* Economy Minister Robert Habeck said it's essential that Germany reduce its gas consumption ahead of the winter.

* Russia's Gazprom last week cut supplies of natural gas via the Nord Stream pipeline by around 60%.

Germany has taken a "bitter" decision to fire up idle coal power plants to reduce its reliance on Russian natural gas, as Vladimir Putin throttles supplies to the country.

Gazprom, the state-controlled Russian energy company, cut natural gas flows through the Nord Stream pipeline to Germany by around 60% last week.

The German economy ministry said on Sunday that idle coal power plants are already being upgraded so they can soon start generating electricity again. It said emergency laws would allow Germany to boost the generation of electricity from coal for a limited period until March 2024.

"This is bitter, but it's essential in this situation to reduce gas consumption," Robert Habeck, economy minister and a senior member of the Green party, said in a statement.

Germany said it intends to cut the use of natural gas so it can fill its storage tanks ahead of the winter, when demand rises.

"The situation is serious," Habeck, who is also vice chancellor, said. "We are therefore further strengthening precautions and taking additional measures to reduce gas consumption. This means gas consumption must continue to fall, so more gas must be stored, otherwise things will get really tight in winter."

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