Germany will reopen coal-fired power facilities and provide incentives to businesses to reduce their use of natural gas, signalling a new development in the economic conflict between Europe and Russia.
Berlin outlined the steps after Russia last week stopped supplying gas to Europe as retaliation for the EU’s sanctions and military backing for Ukraine.
The conservation initiatives are a part of a larger campaign that Germany launched in response to the invasion of Ukraine. In order to ensure that the country has sufficient supplies to get through the winter, Germany wants to cut back on gas usage and redirect gas deliveries to storage facilities.
Russian gas supplies being gradually reduced has sparked worries about a possible fuel shortage if Europe enters the winter with insufficient supplies. Additionally, it has increased prices, adding to the strain on economies already battling rising borrowing rates, high inflation, and the threat of a recession.
The Nord Stream, the main conduit for Russian fuel into Europe, has reported a dramatic decline in gas deliveries. Russian energy company Gazprom has attributed the gap on missing components that are currently in Canada as a result of trade restrictions. Analysts and policymakers in Europe have rejected the justification. The environmentalist Green Party has made a U-turn to accelerate gas’ decline in the power mix, decrease dependency on gas, and increase reserves for the winter.