In 2018, Trump said, “Germany will become totally dependent on Russian energy if it does not immediately change course. Here in the Western Hemisphere, we are committed to maintaining our independence from the encroachment of expansionist foreign powers.”
Now, Europe is turning to its idle coal-powered plants because Russia cut back on natural gas exports in June. Germany, Austria and the Netherlands are switching to alternatives that will provide enough energy for the countries to survive. Energy production in converted or discontinued coal plants is the fastest and most reliable option that’s available.
Russia is blaming sanctions for the cuts because maintenance deliveries are being delayed. Russian government press secretary Dmitry Peskov said, “We know that there are issues with turbines, with their maintenance — a turbine is not being returned and was blocked somewhere.”
German Vice Chancellor and Green Party leader Robert Habek said, “It is obviously Putin’s strategy to rattle us, drive up prices and divide us. We won’t allow that. We will defend ourselves resolutely, precisely and thoughtfully.”
Germany also announced that on top of restarting coal plants, they’re going to incentivize companies to lower their natural gas consumption.
Habek said that Germany is trying to store up enough natural gas for the winter. Currently, the country is at 50% capacity and coal power is the next best option. Even though coal emits more fossil fuels, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, there aren’t any other options.
Habek added, “This is bitter. But in this situation, it is necessary to reduce gas consumption.”
Austria has also made moves to re-convert liquid natural gas plants to coal. The office of Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer told Reuters that the move is “so that in an emergency, they can once again produce electricity from coal, not gas.”
The spokesperson for the chancellor added, “The activation of the coal-fired power plant in Mellach is an emergency measure. This by no means implies a return to the fossil fuel age — on the contrary, we will continue to do everything we can to end our dependence on Russia and increasingly rely on renewable energy.”
President Joe Biden has made every effort possible to block oil and gas leases that could positively affect the price of energy. Biden is insistent that clean energy is the future, but has also begged Saudi Arabia to pump more oil and hasn’t restarted the Keystone XL pipeline.