Germany’s economy minister says the country will limit the use of natural gas for electricity production amid concerns about possible shortages caused by unwillingness to pay in rubles for its cheaper gas supplies from Russia.
To reduce gas consumption, less gas must be used to generate consumer electricity. Coal-fired power plants will have to be used more instead, Robert Habeck said in a statement on Sunday.
As the infographic above shows, coal is still the major global supplier for electricity and heat with +90% being consumed by industry, transportation and for the heating of buildings.
House-hold purposes hardly reach 3% of the energy supplies, but need to pay the bills to cover most of the price increases? Natural gas, nuclear and renewables are listed number 3, 4 and 5 on the global energy supply list.
Oil is still the second most important sector transforming fossil fuels into energy, where industry (26%), transport (40%) and buildings (19%) receive almost all the produced power on their networks.
Russian state gas giant Gazprom said the supply reductions via the Nord Stream I pipeline are the result of repair work, but European Union officials ignored to mention that the permit for the new alternative Nord Stream II project was blocked.
Berlin’s temporary recourse to coal marks a turnaround for Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s ruling coalition of Social Democrats, Greens and the liberal FDP, which has vowed to wind down its coal usage by 2030.
The government has insisted that Russian gas will be needed for a while until alternative sources of energy, such as liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the USA, Qatar and Africa, are brought in by ship become available.
The German government has only called on its citizens to cut back their energy use amid a tense supply situation and so are preparing a campaign to blame Russia and the consumers for the results of the upcoming shortage event towards the end of 2022.
Habeck said storage facilities, currently at 57% capacity, were still able to make up the shortfall from Russia with purchases from elsewhere, but he nevertheless described the situation as serious and said further measures may be necessary.
After cutting daily gas supplies to Germany and Italy, Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller said last week that Moscow will play by its own rules.
Our product, our rules. We don’t play by rules we didn’t create, he said during a panel discussion at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum in Russia’s second city.
Al Jazeera / ABC Flash Point News 2022.