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June 28, 2022
German Vice Chancellor Announces a Return to Coal
German Vice Chancellor and Economy Minister Robert Habeck (Green Party): “That’s bitter, but it’s simply necessary in this situation to lower gas usage,” 

Essay by Eric Worrall

German Vice Chancellor and Economy Minister Robert Habeck (Green Party): “That’s bitter, but it’s simply necessary in this situation to lower gas usage,” 

Germany to fire up coal plants as Russia turns down the gas

As Russia reduces its supply of natural gas, Economy Minister Robert Habeck has said Germany must curb its usage. Otherwise, things “could get tight in winter,” he said.

Germany must limit its use of gas for electricity production and prioritize the filling of storage facilities to compensate for a drop in supply from Russia, Economy Minister Robert Habeck said Sunday.

In a move that goes against the principles of his environmentally-friendly Green Party, the country will also have to increase the burning of coal, Habeck said.

“To reduce gas consumption, less gas must be used to generate electricity. Coal-fired power plants will have to be used more instead,” the Economy Ministry said in a statement.

Habeck also said more gas had to be pumped into storage facilities. “Otherwise, it will be really tight in winter,” he said. Currently gas storage facilities in Germany are around 57% full.

Habeck lamented the necessity to use more coal to produce electricity, but described the current situation as serious.

“That’s bitter, but it’s simply necessary in this situation to lower gas usage,” he said. The coalition government has made it its goal to make German energy production coal-free by 2030.

Read more: https://www.dw.com/en/germany-to-fire-up-coal-plants-as-russia-turns-down-the-gas/a-62182321

Habeck is very much a deep green, in April he pushed through legislation to raise Germany’s energy target to 80% renewables. He is also an opponent of nuclear energy.

Did Habeck backflip on coal to save his own skin, from a public backlash if people lose their heating this winter? Or because he puts Germany first, above his green principles? Whatever the explanation, and despite my misgivings about Habeck’s record, I see Habeck’s decision to support coal as a step forward, a small step towards a return to energy sanity. An example which other Western greens could learn by.

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