Germany steps up efforts to reduce energy dependence on Russia

Germany on Wednesday took further steps to diversify its energy supplies in a bid to reduce dependency on its key supplier, Russiaannouncing an order of 1,500 million euros from liquefied natural gas (LNG) non-Russian and holding back its goodbye to coal.

“Pragmatism must be above any political commitment,” said the Minister of Economy, Robert Habeckto public radio Deutschlandfunkin statements that would have been unthinkable for a representative of the Greens a week ago.

“We must guarantee the security of supplies,” he added, referring to the fear of blackouts and rationing of gas for heating.

Habeck’s comments are the latest sign of how Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has jeopardized the planned transition of Germany towards carbon neutrality, forcing the government to reconsider its planned abandonment of nuclear power and coal.

Russia is the largest supplier of gas to Germany, with 38%, according to data from the website of the Ministry of Economy. Coal and gas together accounted for 43% of Germany’s gross power output last year.

As part of its diversification efforts, Germany has tasked its gas market trading center with buying €1.5bn ($1.7bn) of LNG from Russia, despite the fact that Moscow has so far met all of its gas market obligations. contracted supplies, the ministry said on Wednesday.

In a letter addressed to Trading Hub Europe Obtained by Reuters, the ministry said more orders were likely to be placed in the medium to long term.

In response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Germany has halted certification of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, built to bring Russian gas to Germany. It also announced plans for LNG terminals and the use of national gas and coal reserves in the event of a shortage of gas imports.

Another option is to extend the useful life of coal plants.

“In the short term it may be that, as a precaution and to be prepared for the worst, we have to keep coal plants on standby and maybe even let them run,” Habeck said.

RWE, Germany’s biggest power producer, said it was open to the idea of ​​tapping into coal plants currently in reserve, reviving gridlocked plants or delaying planned shutdowns this year as part of plans to exit coal from Germany. Germany.

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