Lindner from Germany renounces nuclear power to defuse the gas crisis
Finance Minister Christian Lindner has warned that the gas crisis in Germany could lead to an electricity shortage. Despite opposition from his Green coalition partner, he is pushing for a delayed phase-out of nuclear power.
Federal Finance Minister Christian Lindner called on Sunday to stop generating electricity from gas after Russia once again halted deliveries to Europe.
In view of the fears that Europe’s largest economy could soon suffer from gas shortages, Lindner told Bild am Sonntag: „We have to work to ensure that we don’t have an electricity crisis in addition to the gas crisis.“
He said that Economics Minister Robert Habeck has the legal powers to ban the use of gas to generate electricity if that is necessary.
The neoliberal FDP politician Lindner again called for the German nuclear power plants to be kept in operation until 2024, saying they were „safe and climate-friendly“.
In Germany, three nuclear power plants went offline last year, and three more are scheduled to be shut down at the end of December.
In this first quarter of the year, 6% of the country’s electricity production came from nuclear power plants and 13% from gas.
The statements bring Lindner into conflict with another coalition partner of the FDP, the environmentally friendly Greens.
Green Party co-chair Ricarda Lang insisted that a return to nuclear power „is definitely not going to happen to us“.
Lang told the public broadcaster ZDF that nuclear power remains a „risk technology“.
Calls for nuclear expansion are getting louder
The move to delay nuclear phase-out would be uncomfortable for Scholz’s centre-left SPD, the strongest party in the governing coalition, and the Greens.
Rejection of nuclear energy is a cornerstone of the Green Party’s identity, while a red-green government began Germany’s phase-out of nuclear power two decades ago.
The final decision to shut down the country’s nuclear plans was made by former German Chancellor Angela Merkel in 2011, shortly after Japan’s Fukushima nuclear disaster.
However, Lindner’s proposal to extend the lifespan of nuclear power plants has the support of Merkel’s centre-right conservative opposition.
So far, the current government has said that keeping nuclear reactors operational could be legally and technically complex and would not necessarily help alleviate the gas crisis.
Threat of gas shortages still increased
Germany remains heavily dependent on gas from Moscow, but Russian state-owned energy giant Gazprom last week cut supplies through Nord Stream 1 to 20% of maximum capacity.
Moscow named technical problems that Germany describes as a pretext for a political power game.
The supply cut is fueling fears that Germany will run out of gas next winter, with potentially catastrophic ramifications for industry and the population.
To address these concerns, the government has already given the green light to restart 10 decommissioned coal-fired power plants and six oil-lignite power plants.
Another 11 coal-fired power plants, which are scheduled to be shut down in November, are allowed to continue operating.