Germany plans to deploy a coal-fired power plant that was scheduled to be shut down in reserve so that it can continue to operate in the event of an abrupt shutdown of natural gas supplies from Russia.
A bill drafted this week by the Ministry of Economy, led by Greens MP Robert Harbek, would keep power plants burning coal and lignite or lignite so they can run for a short period of time.
The proposed rule, if adopted, will remain in effect until March 31, 2024.
“This means we can use coal-fired power plants in the short term in our electricity sector as needed,” he explains. The bill still needs the approval of Prime Minister Olaf Scholz.
Natural gas from Russia accounted for 15% of Germany’s electricity production in 2021, but that figure is expected to drop even lower this year due to rising gas costs and disruptions from the Ukraine war, the defense ministry said.
Germany is relying on cheap and abundant Russian natural gas supplies to replace coal in order to achieve its goal of reducing carbon emissions to 55% of 1990 levels by 2030. But after the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24, Berlin has been busy overturning decades of policy focused on importing fossil fuels from Russia.
Earlier this month, the Reichstag passed legislation to build four terminals to supply liquefied natural gas on the northern coast, including two floating terminals expected to be completed by the end of the year.
Germany has reduced the share of natural gas it receives from Russia from 55% at the beginning of the year to 35%. Most of Russia’s gas flows through the Nord Stream pipeline, which runs under the Baltic Sea.
In its annual report on Germany this week, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) warned that Russia’s natural gas cuts would pose the biggest threat to Germany’s economy, Europe’s largest economy.
Germany has decided to spend $44.5 billion in its pre-2020 government to phase out coal by 2038. The new government, which took office in December, has pushed the end date to 2030 and emphasized the expansion of renewable energy for power generation.
Efforts to build more wind turbines and solar power plants have been halted by previous governments. Amid high gas prices last year, coal-fired electricity grew by nearly 5%, accounting for around 30% of Germany’s electricity production.