HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP via Getty Images Germany is slated to burn coal and keep two nuclear plants open amid soaring energy prices, according to a Monday statement from economy minister Robert Habeck.
The European nation imported roughly 55% of its gas from Russia before the invasion of Ukraine and has since reduced its dependence to 35%. Although Germany had originally planned to shutter its three remaining nuclear plants, the nation’s federal government announced that it will keep nuclear facilities Isar 2 and Neckarwestheim open as reserve sources of power.
“The drought in the summer has reduced water levels in rivers and lakes, which weakens hydropower in neighboring countries and also makes it difficult to transport coal to the power plants that we have to use due to the tense gas situation,” Habeck said. “The major crises — war and climate crises — have a very concrete impact. So we have a number of uncertainty factors, and the summer has made this even worse with the drought.”
Indeed, Habeck noted that hydroelectric capacity in nearby France is severely limited due to drought conditions. “Because of all these risks, we cannot rely on the fact that in the event of grid bottlenecks in our neighboring countries, there will be enough power plants available to stabilize our power grid in the short term,” he added.
The return of coal-fired power and the pause on the scheduled shutdown of German nuclear plants — which former Chancellor Angela Merkel greenlit following the 2011 nuclear meltdown in Fukushima, Japan — also occurs after Russian state energy company Gazprom cut off natural gas shipments through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline over the weekend. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that the nation may resume gas shipments if Western sanctions are eased.
“Problems with gas supply arose because of the sanctions imposed on […]
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