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Some European countries shifting back to coal power as Russia reduces gas flow

A shortage of natural gas after Russia cut off supplies is forcing European countries to look at burning more coal.

Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller said that Moscow will play by its own rules after cutting daily gas supplies to Germany and Italy
Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller said that Moscow will play by its own rules after cutting daily gas supplies to Germany and Italy - Copyright AFP/File Niklas HALLE'N
Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller said that Moscow will play by its own rules after cutting daily gas supplies to Germany and Italy - Copyright AFP/File Niklas HALLE'N

A shortage of natural gas after Russia cut off supplies is forcing European countries to look at burning more coal. Making matters worse, surging gas prices are adding to rising inflation rates.

Market Watch is reporting that on Sunday, Germany’s economy minister, Robert Habeck announced that the country will restart coal-fired power plants in order to conserve natural gas. Germany will offer incentives for companies to curb natural gas consumption.

Berlin unveiled the measures after Russia cut gas supplies to Europe last week as it punched back against European sanctions and military support for Ukraine.

“That is painful, but it is a sheer necessity in this situation to reduce gas consumption,” said Habeck, a member of the Green party that has pushed for a faster exit from coal, which produces more greenhouse gases, according to Reuters.

“But if we don’t do it, then we run the risk that the storage facilities will not be full enough at the end of the year towards the winter season. And then we are blackmailable on a political level,” he said.

Italy’s Eni said it had been informed by Russia’s Gazprom that it would receive only part of its request for gas supplies on Monday, pushing the country closer to declaring a state of alert that will spark gas-saving measures.

Austria’s government agreed with utility Verbund on Sunday to convert a gas-fired power plant to use coal should restricted gas supplies lead to an energy emergency. The decision, taken by a “small crisis cabinet” led by Chancellor Karl Nehammer, came after Germany’s announcement on Sunday.

Dutch TTF natural gas futures, the benchmark European price, were up around 5 percent Monday to 124 euros (or $130) per megawatt-hour. That’s a more than 500 percent increase from a year earlier, reports Business Insider.

Written By

Karen Graham is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for environmental news. Karen's view of what is happening in our world is colored by her love of history and how the past influences events taking place today. Her belief in man's part in the care of the planet and our environment has led her to focus on the need for action in dealing with climate change. It was said by Geoffrey C. Ward, "Journalism is merely history's first draft." Everyone who writes about what is happening today is indeed, writing a small part of our history.

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