As Germany prepared to approve the reactivation of 10 coal-fired power plants, a significant natural gas pipeline from Russia to western Europe was shut down for yearly maintenance on Monday.
This was because of worries that Russia would not restore the flow of gas as scheduled.
Germany’s primary supply of Russian gas comes from the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, which crosses the Baltic Sea from Russia. Additionally, gas is frequently transported to neighboring nations.
The line will be out of commission until July 21 for standard maintenance that involves “testing of mechanical parts and automation systems,” according to the operator. Data from the operator revealed that the gas flow was decreasing as expected on Monday morning.
German authorities are wary of Russia’s intentions, especially after Russian gas supplier Gazprom last month drastically cut the amount of gas flowing via Nord Stream 1. Technical issues with a gas turbine powering a compressor station that partner Siemens Energy sent to Canada for maintenance and was unable to return due to sanctions put in place because of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine were highlighted by Gazprom.
Canada said over the weekend that it would let the item to be shipped to Germany, noting the “extremely severe difficulty” that a lack of adequate gas supplies would cause for the German economy.
Robert Habeck, the vice chancellor of Germany, has expressed his suspicion that Russia may refuse to reopen the pipeline after this month’s repair because of “some tiny technical issue.”
No one can accurately predict if the gas will be turned back on, according to the director of Germany’s network regulator, the Bundesnetzagentur.
Russian transmissions are quite variable, according to Klaus Mueller, speaking to ZDF television. However, there have also been quite combative signals from the Kremlin. Some Kremlin representatives claim that when combined with the Siemens turbine, they can offer substantially more once again.
The repatriation of Nord Stream 1 turbines, according to the Ukrainian ministries of energy and international affairs, “is modifying the sanctions system to the whims of Russia.”
Volodymr Zelenskyy, the president of Ukraine, warned that Russia will move once more to cut off its supply of natural gas to Europe “at the most acute moment” in his nightly video message on Monday.
Zelenskyy stated, “This is what we need to prepare for right now, and this is what is being provoked right now.
The Russian leadership will take advantage of Canada’s decision to permit the export of the repaired gas turbine, he continued, “since any concession in such conditions is regarded by the Russian leadership as an encouragement for future, harsher pressure.”
In order to lessen their reliance on Russian energy imports and fill gas storage tanks in time for the winter, Germany and the rest of Europe are frantically working. The largest economy in Europe, Germany, imports around 35% of the gas it uses to power its industries and produce electricity from Russia.
Habeck triggered the second stage of Germany’s three-stage emergency natural gas supply plan last month, announcing that the nation was in “crisis” and that storage goals for the winter were in jeopardy.
The German government is getting ready to sign a regulation on Wednesday that would allow utility companies to restart 10 idle coal-fired power facilities and six idle oil-fired power plants in order to make up for deficiencies. 11 more coal-fired power stations that were supposed to shut down in November will be permitted to continue functioning.
Environmentalists have cautioned that burning coal and oil causes more carbon dioxide to be released into the atmosphere than power stations that run on natural gas, endangering Germany’s climate ambitions. However, the administration contends that additional efforts to hasten the use of renewable energy will make up for the short-term rise in emissions.
Concern has been expressed about the effects of recent decreases in Russian supply via Nord Stream 1 and other channels in other nations as well.
According to Bruno Le Maire, minister of economy and finance of France, a full interruption of Russian gas imports is a “credible prospect.” He claimed that France must enter “war mode” this summer in order to get ready for the impending winter, when “courageous decisions” will be necessary due to potential energy shortages.
Le Maire remarked, “We won’t be able to keep ourselves warm and pretend as if nothing has changed. “Now is the time to plan and prepare. We need to alter our behaviors and use less energy.
Separately, the Italian energy firm ENI announced that Gazprom will reduce its Monday gas supply by around a third compared to the typical in recent days. Compared to an average of roughly 32 million cubic meters, ENI said that Gazprom will supply 21 million cubic meters of gas.
On Monday, Habeck and his Czech colleague inked an accord on energy security that guarantees the landlocked country would profit from new liquefied natural gas facilities Germany is constructing.
Using electricity as a weapon against us, Russian tyrant Vladimir Putin, according to Czech Minister of Industry and Trade Jozef Skela. He is attempting to raise gas prices and put us at risk of a full gas shortage, which would lower our level of living.
In this energy fight, having partners from the European Union on our side is a huge benefit, according to Sikela. It is obvious that our relationship with Germany, via whom practically all of our gas is supplied, will be crucial to our success.