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Germany Restarts Oil-Fired Power Plants As It Seeks To Save Gas

The utility in the large German city of Munich has restarted two power plants running on oil in a bid to save natural gas amid very low and highly uncertain deliveries of Russian gas ahead of the winter.

Munich’s utility Stadtwerke München wrote in an email to Bloomberg on Monday, “We reactivated oil burners in two heating plants that have previously been shut down.” The utility did not specify what type of oil is being used in the plants now.

Stadtwerke München has already reduced the temperatures at outdoor and indoor swimming pools and is closing saunas at the pools as of August 1 and until further notice, after gas supply from Russia to Germany via Nord Stream was further cut last week to 20% of the pipeline’s capacity.

Germany is also resurrecting coal-fired power plants and will rely more on electricity generation from coal to conserve gas and fill its gas storage by winter, its Economy Minister Robert Habeck said after Russia first slashed supply to Germany via Nord Stream in the middle of June. 

In recent days, Germany has also been debating whether to end nuclear power generation at the end of 2022, as planned, in light of the gas crisis. Germany has three remaining nuclear power plants operating, and they should be shut by the end of this year under a plan the country adopted to stop the use of nuclear energy following the Fukushima disaster.

At the end of July, Germany’s Chancellor Olaf Scholz signaled the government could be inclined to reconsider extending the operational life of the nuclear power plants. However, such a move could be difficult because many parties, including the Greens that are part of the coalition government, firmly oppose extending nuclear power generation beyond 2022.

Meanwhile, Berlin and other major cities in Germany have started turning off the spotlights on historical monuments and municipal buildings in an effort to conserve energy ahead of winter.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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