Belgium, (Brussels Morning Newspaper) The German Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action announced plans to increase the country’s reliance on coal in response to the energy crunch.
The Ministry announced on Sunday that the response includes plans to increase natural gas storage levels before the winter, according to Reuters reporting.
Russian energy giant Gazprom has recently cut gas deliveries, which Germany is concerned about as it relies on Russian gas imports.
Besides turning back to coal-fired power plants, the Economy Ministry announced plans to incentivise the industry to consume less energy.
The Ministry is preparing credit lines worth 15 billion euro for the national gas market operator to fill storages faster than originally planned, according to a government source.
Robert Habeck, Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Action, stressed that the Ministry will take further action if situation demands it.
According to two sources familiar with the matter, the Ministry could launch the second phase of the gas emergency plan, which would allow utilities to pass on rising prices to consumers if the country faces risk of long-term shortages.
Habeck blames Putin
“The tense situation and the high prices are a direct consequence of [Russian President Vladimir] Putin’s war of aggression on Ukraine,” Habeck asserted in a statement.
“What’s more, it is obviously Putin’s strategy to make us insecure, to drive up prices, and to divide us,” he continued and added “we will not let that happen… we will fight back decisively, precisely and thoughtfully.”
Habeck pointed out that coal-fired power plants can help to address any gas shortages and announced that proposed regulations will be sent to MPs on 8 July.
“That is painful, but it is a sheer necessity in this situation to reduce gas consumption,” he observed, but stressed the importance of preparing for the winter.
Habeck noted that, if the government does not prepare, “we run the risk that the storage facilities will not be full enough at the end of the year towards the winter season… and then we are blackmailed on a political level.”
According to plans, Germany is to fill gas storages to 80% by October and further to 90% by November.