Green Germany Weighs Reopening Coal Power Plants Amid Energy Crisis

Germany is considering reopening some of its decommissioned coal power plants in the hopes of getting a handle on its ongoing energy crisis. The reopening of shuttered plants is seen as an option as the country struggles to ween itself off of its addiction to Russian fossil fuels….

While authorities have already rejected plans of delaying the decommissioning of the remainder of its nuclear power stations, a new plan involving either delaying the shut down of coal fire plants that are still in operation, or the re-opening of plants that have previously been terminated, is now in the cards.

According to the publication Die Zeit, the German government is considering the two moves alongside energy company RWO, with the group’s CEO Markus Krebber saying that the organization is ready to act if need be.

“It is up to the federal government to decide whether these blocks must be used temporarily and to what extent they should be used to reduce gas consumption,” said Krebber regarding potential re-openings, emphasizing both a delay on closures or a reopening of closed plants for reserve use was possible.

However, the RWE head was keen to emphasize that no U-turn on the phasing out of fossil fuels was occurring, and that the stop-gap measures being suggested did not represent a rollback of the country’s climate change plans. “It’s not a backwards roll, but at most a step aside for a limited time,” the energy Tsar said.

Krebber also mentioned RWE’s efforts to move away from hydrocarbons sourced from Russia, though he warned that this would have to be a slow process, saying he appreciated the German government’s refusal to implement restrictions on Russian energy imports.

“An immediate stop would have unforeseen consequences for the heat supply to households,” he said. “Sanctions have to be chosen in such a way that we can endure them.”

However, despite the apparent eagerness for German authorities to move away from energy sourced from Russia, the country has taken a number of actions that appear to work contrary to this goal.

For example, a plan to keep the country’s remaining nuclear plants online for the time being so as to lessen reliance on Russian supply was outright rejected by authorities, as a result of a report drawn up by two government ministries.

“As a result of weighing up the benefits and risks, an extension of the operating lives of the three remaining nuclear power plants is not recommended, also in view of the current gas crisis,” the two ministries — both of whom are led by a minister from Germany’s anti-nuclear Green Party — said in a joint statement.

Instead, the country’s Federal Economics Minister, Robert Habeck, has put great emphasis on Liquified Natural Gas as a potential panacea for Germany’s current Russian energy addiction, despite the country currently having no way of landing the fuel which is in increasingly short supply internationally.

Meanwhile, the German public has become extremely skeptical of the new government’s climate change plans, with over half of the population believing the coalition’s green agenda will have a negative effect on German society. Nearly half of the country also believes that green policies will have a negative effect on their personal lives, with more than half in the eastern half of the country feeling that this will be the case. ✪

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