"Security of supply is currently guaranteed, but the situation is serious," Germany's economy minister said on Sunday. "We are therefore further strengthening precautions and taking additional measures to reduce gas consumption." File Photo by Filip Singer/EPA-EFE
June 20 (UPI) -- Germany has announced a slew of measures aimed at reducing its gas consumption, including turning to coal-fired power plants for energy, as Russia continues to throttle supplies to Europe amid its war in Ukraine.
Robert Habeck, Berlin's economy and climate minister, revealed the measures Sunday in a statement, saying to reduce the use of gas in producing electricity, they will have to resort to coal-fired power plants -- a decision he called "bitter" but "necessary" to ensure storage tanks are full this winter.
"Security of supply is currently guaranteed, but the situation is serious," he said. "We are therefore further strengthening precautions and taking additional measures to reduce gas consumption."
He said the coal-fired plants will be used for a "transitional period." Other measures include a gas auction model to be launched this summer to encourage industrial consumers to reduced their use of gas as well strengthening the storage of gas through offering loans secured by a federal guarantee to Germany's gas market operator.
The announcement comes as Russia continues to limit gas to Europe where nations have repeatedly sought to punish Moscow over its war in Ukraine.
On Friday, Italy and Slovakia said Gazprom, Russia's state-owned energy company, had halved their gas deliveries.
On Thursday, Gazprom said in a statement on its official Telegram account that it reduced gas supplies to Germany via its Nord Stream 1 pipeline to 67 million cubic meters a day, which is a substantial decline.
Gazprom said it stopped the Siemens gas turbine engine for repairs.
Habeck, however, called the move by Russia in a statement as an obvious "strategy to unsettle and drive up prices."
"The quantities can be procured on the market, albeit at high prices," he said late last week. "Security of supply is guaranteed. But we are monitoring things very closely and are in close contact with the relevant actors about the crisis structures."
He said that the current situation shows the need to conserve energy and that they will take other mitigating measures.