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Germany Prepares Coal-fired Backup If Russian Gas Stops

Germany is drafting plans to have around two dozen mostly coal-fired power plants, which were scheduled to be idled in 2022 and 2023, on standby as network reserve capacity. Berlin is looking to have the power generation plans ready to be used in case Russian gas deliveries to Europe’s largest economy stop, sources at the German Economy Ministry told Reuters on Tuesday.

Germany is preparing contingency plans to use power plants operated by Uniper, EnBW, Steag, RWE, and Leag, among others. Those plants use hard coal, brown coal, or mineral oil as fuel sources, according to a table Reuters has obtained.

Europe’s largest economy, Germany, is a major buyer of Russian natural gas and oil and has been preparing for more than two months for the possibility that fossil fuel supplies from Russia could be disrupted either because of sanctions or retaliatory moves from Moscow to cut—or cut off—the supply of oil and/or natural gas.

At the end of March, Germany started to prepare for a potential disruption of natural gas supply from Russia and activated an emergency plan ahead of the March 31 deadline Vladimir Putin had ordered for gas-for-ruble payments.    

Germany depends on Russian gas for around half of its needs, with many industries using gas and about half of all households heating with gas. The Russian war in Ukraine exposed Germany’s—and Europe’s—vulnerable reliance on gas and other energy flows from Russia.

Earlier this month, Siegfried Russwurm, the president of the Federation of German Industries, BDI, the biggest industry association, told local tabloid Bild am Sonntag in an interview that a halt of Russian gas supply to Germany would be “catastrophic.

Economy Minister Robert Habeck said two weeks ago that Germany would be able to withstand a halt of Russian natural gas supplies as long as it manages to fill up its gas storage.

Meanwhile, German buyers of Russian gas have started opening accounts at Gazprombank to comply with Putin’s demand for payment in rubles for gas.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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