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Germany could reactivate coal power plants

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Berlin is expected to propose an emergency plan in case Russian gas supplies are stopped

German Economy Minister Robert Habeck is reportedly set to unveil an emergency decree allowing the federal government to take back coal- and oil-fired facilities in the event of gas shortages.

The plan, expected to be announced on Tuesday, aims to reduce the risks of a potential gas shortage if supplies from Russia are halted, Bloomberg reports citing the proposed legislation.

“This request for additional coal-fired power generation only occurs when there is a gas shortage, or if there is a threat of a gas shortage and gas consumption in power generation must be reduced.” says the bill seen by the agency.

Germany has almost six gigawatts of facilities that are now part of a national reserve, many of which were supposed to be closed by 2030 as part of the coal phase-out program.

“We must complete the coal phase-out in Germany by 2030. This is more important than ever in the current crisis.” according to the decree.

However, he later states, “Along the way, we have to strengthen our precautions and keep coal power plants in the reserves longer in the short term.”

The emergency plan would allow Berlin to activate coal facilities without parliament’s approval for up to six months. The plants will now be part of the reserve until March 31, 2024.

Earlier this month, German auto giant Volkswagen admitted coal would still be needed, regardless of EU plans to end reliance on Russian natural gas.

Meanwhile, German utilities said they could make the plants available if needed. Uniper said it could send up to 3 gigawatts of coal-fired power generation to strengthen security of supply, while RWE said it was reviewing which power plants could come back on.

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