Germany sticks to 2030 coal exit target despite energy crisis
Germany said Monday it still aimed to close its coal power plants by 2030 despite reverting to the fossil fuel following an energy crisis provoked by Russia's attack of Ukraine.
"The 2030 coal exit date is not in doubt at all," economy ministry spokesman Stephan Gabriel Haufe said at a regular press conference.
The target was "more important than ever" in light of the greater CO2 emissions that would be produced by the government's recent decision to rely more on coal.
Russia's invasion of Ukraine has caused energy prices to soar, pumping up inflation and raising the prospect of shortages if deliveries were cut off.
Russian energy giant Gazprom has stopped supplies to a number of European countries, including Poland, Bulgaria, Finland and the Netherlands.
Following a reduction in Gazprom gas supplies last week, the government said Sunday coal-fired plants would be "used more" for electricity generation.
Economy Minister Robert Habeck, a Green party politician, described the decision as "bitter but indispensable for reducing gas consumption".
Berlin has criticised Gazprom's decision to reduce gas supplies via the Nord Stream pipeline from Russia as "political".
Europe's largest economy has set about weaning itself off Russian energy imports in response to the aggression in Ukraine.
So far, it has managed to reduce the share of its natural gas supplied by Russia from 55 percent before the invasion to 35 percent.
The government has also mandated the filling of gas reserves to 90 percent ahead of the European winter at the end of the year, to mitigate the impact of supplies potentially being cut off.
Germany's government, a coalition between the Social Democrats, Liberals and Greens, aims "ideally" to close all coal power plants by 2030.
Their agreement, reached at the end of last year, brought forward the previous government's aim to shut the plants by 2038.