Green Fail: Germany to Reconnect First Coal Power Plant to Energy Grid
In a demonstration of the failure of Germany’s pursuit of so-called “green energy” and its policy of relying on Russian gas in the meantime, a coal-fired power plant will be reconnected to the nation’s electricity grid.
While the economic powerhouse of Europe — so called — scrambles to secure energy sources before the winter months, the previously shuttered Mehrum coal power plant in Lower Saxony will become the first to once again be connected to Germany’s grid.
On Monday, the manager of the Czech-owned EGH operating company, Kathrin Voelkner said: “We have declared the return to the electricity market. We assume that we will return to the grid in the short term,” according to the Frankfurter Neue Presse newspaper.
The move was preceded by the federal government implementing an emergency ordinance to allow mothballed oil and coal-powered plants to open back up until April of next year, as the country faces a shortfall in its energy amid the conflict in Ukraine.
Economy Minister Robert Habeck, a leading member of the German Greens, has described the decision to turn back on coal plants as “bitter” but a necessary evil.
While the government has allowed for the return to coal power, the socialist SPD-led traffic light coalition government has so far refused to abandon its decision to shut its remaining nuclear power plants by the end of the year, a move that followed years of anti-nuclear policies from former Chancellor Angela Merkel following the Fukushima meltdown in Japan.
The co-leader of The Greens, Ricarda Lang has said that a return to nuclear power “will not happen, on our watch at least.”
Lang said that there was a “lack of seriousness” in the debate surrounding nuclear, which she described as a “highly risky technology,” despite nuclear power being one of the safest major energy sources in the world.
“But we need answers that actually suit the problem,” the Green politician continued. “We have a warmth problem, not an electricity problem,” she claimed, despite gas still being used for energy production.
Others have disagreed with the anti-nuclear stance of the government, including Saxony Prime Minister Michael Kretschmerhas, who declared last week that the green agenda has failed.
“The energy transition with gas as the base load has failed,” he said while calling for the remaining nuclear power stations to remain open during the crisis.
Despite longstanding warnings from figures such as former President Donald Trump, the country has remained heavily reliant on Russia for gas. While Russia has claimed that the current shortfalls in gas shipments have come as a result of technical issues with the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, others have suggested that it is a retaliatory strike in response to sanctions levied against Moscow over the war in Ukraine.
Presently, the biggest concern facing Germany is potential blackouts during the winter, which could lead to dangerous situations, particularly for elderly people. However, some cities have already begun putting rationing measures in place, including Hanover, which became the first major European city this week to place limits on hot water use in public buildings.