German Vice Chancellor and Economy Minister Robert Habeck said Sunday that the country will limit the use of natural gas for electricity production amid concerns about possible shortages caused by a cut in supplies from Russia.
As a member of the environmentalist Green Party, Habeck pushed through legislation in April to raise Germany’s energy target to 80% renewables. He is also an opponent of nuclear energy.
Habeck said that Germany will try to compensate for the move by increasing the burning of coal, a more polluting fossil fuel.
“That’s bitter, but it’s simply necessary in this situation to lower gas usage,”
The decision comes just days after Russian gas company Gazprom announced that it was sharply reducing supplies through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline for technical reasons, but which Habeck said appeared to be politically motivated.
“It’s obvious that (Russian President Vladimir) Putin’s strategy is to unsettle us by driving up the price and dividing us,” Habeck said.
“We won’t let that happen.”
Gas Reduction in Electricity Sector
“The situation on the gas market has deteriorated in recent days. The missing quantities can still be replaced, and the gas storage tanks are still being filled, albeit at high prices. Security of supply is currently guaranteed. But the situation is serious. We are therefore further strengthening precautions and taking additional measures to reduce gas consumption.