Govt approves plan for larger coal plant reserve and gas cut for power stations
To counteract future gas supply shortages, the government cabinet has decided on new regulations for the provision of backup power stations and to minimise the use of natural gas in power generation, Reuters reports. In case of an emergency, additional back-up plants can be brought into operation at short notice, the article said. For this purpose, already mothballed coal plants will be upgraded; some 2.6 gigawatt (GW) of coal capacity that is scheduled to be shut down will be transferred into the reserve, which will amount to 9 GW in total, Reuters writes. The government further aims to minimise gas use for electricity production to ensure that it is only used in industry and for heating in times of shortages. The regulation will apply until the end of March 2024, by which time the government estimates to be almost fully independent of Russian gas imports.
Germany used 12 percent of its natural gas to produce electricity in 2021. Its current coal phase-out plan stipulates that the last plant is shuttered no later than 2038, but the government promised to strive for an end to coal-fired power production already by 2030. Germany has reduced its dependency from Russian gas from around 55 percent to around 35 percent between February and April 2022.