As Europe seeks to cut its dependence on Russian natural gas, German Minister for the Economy Robert Habeck announced that the country will reduce its gas consumption by starting up coal power plants again.
In an effort to shore up supplies ahead of winter, Germany took the "bitter but essential" decision to reduce the threat of energy shortage by significantly increasing its use of highly-polluting coal, report local media.
"This means using less gas to generate electricity. Coal-fired power plants will have to be used instead," Habeck, who is a member of the Green party, said in a statement.
'A grave situation'
While Habeck stressed that the return to coal-fired power plants is only "for a transitional period," the plan is at odds with Germany's climate policy, which aims to completely phase out coal by 2030.
Yet "the situation is serious," Habeck stressed. "We are therefore continuing to strengthen precautions and taking additional measures to reduce gas consumption."
He emphasised the need for Germany's gas consumption to be brought down but also that it is imperative that gas be put into the storage facilities, "otherwise things will really get tight in winter."
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Security of supply is currently guaranteed in Germany, despite a "deteriorating situation on the gas market" in recent days, Habeck said. He stated that the soaring prices are part of Russian President Vladimir Putin's "strategy to unsettle us, drive up prices and divide us."
"But we will not allow this to happen. We are fighting back decisively, precisely and thoughtfully."