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Germany puts coal power plant back on network after gas supply cut

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A coal-fired power plant that had been mothballed has become the first of its kind to be put back on to the network in Germany, as debate rages over how Europe’s largest economy will cope without Russian gas.The facility in Lower Saxony, which is owned by the Czech energy company EGH, has received emergency permission to run until April in an attempt to boost energy production.The move has been described by Germany’s economy minister, Robert Habeck, a leading Green, as a necessary evil, as he acknowledged it was a considerable setback to the country’s attempts to tackle the climate crisis.Meanwhile, Germany’s Greens ruled out lengthening the life of nuclear power plants due to be mothballed by the end of the year.Ricarda Lang, the head of the Greens, who are in a coalition government with the Social Democrats and the pro-business FDP, said such a move would not happen as long as her party was in government.She rejected calls from the FDP finance minister, Christian Lindner, to keep open until about 2024 if necessary three nuclear power plants due to stop operation by the end of this year.Germany is heavily reliant on Russian gas, and supplies through its largest pipeline, Nord Stream 1 via the Baltic Sea, are currently at about 20% of expected levels, in what has been widely interpreted as a retaliatory move by Moscow over sanctions imposed as a result of its invasion of Ukraine.Politicians have warned of crisis conditions this winter and next as Germany tries to tackle the energy shortfall.

Restrictions have been put on the heating of public buildings including swimming pools and town halls, and businesses have been asked to allow employers to work at home as far as possible to avoid the heating of big office blocks.

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