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Germany is reactivating coal and fuel oil-fired power plants as it aims to conserve natural gas ahead of the winter, but the return of the fossil fuel-fired facilities is only temporary, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said this weekend.
Germany will rely more on electricity generation from coal to conserve gas and fill its gas storage by winter, its Economy Minister Robert Habeck said in June after Russia slashed supply to Germany via Nord Stream.
In a video message this weekend, the German chancellor expressed regret over the country having to resort to coal and oil-fired power plants. Germany has decided to restart 16 mothballed fossil fuel plants and extend the operating licenses for 11 other such facilities as it is concerned over power and gas supply in the coming months.
Germany depended on Russian gas supply for around 40 percent of its consumption before the war in Ukraine, and although it has reduced that dependence since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, it still fears shortages, rationing, an industrial collapse, and a recession in case Russian supply is further cut or completely halted.
"The fact that because of Russia's brutal attack on Ukraine we now have to temporarily use some power plants that we had already taken out of operation is bitter," Chancellor Scholz said this weekend, as carried by Euronews.
"But it is only for a very short time," Scholz added.
Germany, Europe's biggest economy, and other EU member states are not ruling out the possibility that Russia may not resume gas flows via Nord Stream once the two-week maintenance period of the pipeline ends on July 22, or that Russia could cut supplies further.
Russian gas supply cuts could lead to widespread industrial collapse, German Federation of Trade Unions head Yasmin Fahimi said earlier this month.
"Entire industries are in danger of collapsing permanently because of the gas bottlenecks: aluminum, glass, the chemical industry," Fahimi said earlier this month.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.