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Germany Restarts Coal Plants After Russia Severs Gas Supply

Germany Coal Plant
Germany is restarting its coal-fired power plants after Russia severed gas supplies to Europe. Credit: Creative Commons

Germany will reopen its high-polluting coal power plants after Russia cut off its gas pipeline to Europe.

The emergency decision announced Sunday came as Germany tries to avert a supply shortage and as the continent struggles to respond to reductions in energy supply from Russia, The New York Times reported.

Deepening worldwide sanctions against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine have led Russian President Vladimir Putin to sever supplies to several European countries.

Recently, Russia’s energy giant, Gazprom, slowed deliveries through the Nord Stream pipeline, a key gas supply link to Germany, The Times reported.

Now, facing immediate shortages, Germany will burn coal, the high carbon-emitting fossil fuel that is an “an important target for replacement in the transition toward renewable alternatives,” CNBC reported.

Coal Plants Were Phasing Out

Germany’s coal-burning power plants had been getting phased out to cut carbon emissions. In Greece, the utility Public Power Corporation is also implementing a plan to phase out its coal-fired power generation capacity.

Currently, Germany’s gas storage tanks are a little over half full, though it aims to reach 90 percent by year end, according to reports.

Like other European countries, Germany had long depended on Russia-supplied natural gas, receiving more than half its total supply from the country, The Times reported. But by the time Russia invaded Ukraine in late February, that total had been cut down to around 20 percent after Germany inked deals with the United States, United Arab Emirates, and Norway.

Meanwhile, the European Commission last month said Greece is expected to play a significant role in developing independence from Russian fuel in Southeastern Europe. Infrastructure for transit and imports that is currently under construction in Greece will be essential in reducing dependence on Russian oil in the region.

The Greek Ministry for Energy and the Environment also released a report detailing the specific environmental requirements for the construction of the EastMed pipeline, which will link Cyprus, Greece, and Israel and provide energy throughout Southeastern Europe when completed.

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