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Menopausal Mother Nature

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As Russia Turns Down The Gas, Europe Does An About-Face On Coal

eu coal plant

Europe’s biggest Russian gas buyers raced to find alternative fuel supplies on Monday and could burn more coal to cope with reduced gas flows from Russia that threatens an energy crisis in winter if stores are not refilled.

Germany, Italy, Austria, and the Netherlands have all signaled that coal-fired power plants could help see the continent through a crisis that has sent gas prices surging and added to the challenge facing policymakers battling inflation. [bold, links added]

The Dutch government said on Monday it would remove a cap on production at coal-fired energy plants and will activate the first phase of an energy crisis plan.

Denmark has also initiated the first step of an emergency gas plan due to the Russian supply uncertainty.

Italy moved closer to declaring a state of alert on energy after oil company Eni said it was told by Russia’s Gazprom that it would receive only part of its request for gas supplies on Monday.

Germany, which has also experienced lower Russian flows, has announced its latest plan to boost gas storage levels and said it could restart coal-fired power plants that it had aimed to phase out.

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

“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.

Russia on Monday repeated its earlier criticism that Europe had only itself to blame after the West imposed sanctions in response to Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, a gas transit route to Europe as well as a major wheat exporter.

Read rest at Reuters

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