Germany now generates about a third of its electricity from coal, among the dirtiest fossil fuels, as natural gas supplies from Russia have disappeared and gas prices have skyrocketed as much as sevenfold in the past year.
Last year, coal provided 27 percent of the country’s electricity.
Gas prices have tripled since late February alone after Russia invaded Ukraine.
During the first half of this year, Germany upped its use of coal to make electricity by 17 percent. Coal use increased by 23 percent in this year’s second quarter.
In the same period, the country used 18 percent less natural gas in power generation. Gas now makes up only 11 percent of the fuel used to generate electricity.
The switch to coal is a blow to Germany’s plan for a clean energy future, which was inaugurated by a surge in solar electricity during the previous decade.
Coal releases twice the air pollution of natural gas and 60 times as much as nuclear power.
TRENDPOST: Europe’s sweeping plan for a green energy transition is another victim of the sanctions they imposed on Russia.
The plan sets 2030 as a deadline for intermediate benchmarks in weatherizing buildings, moving to hydrogen and hydropower as energy sources, and slashing dependence on imported fossil fuels.
The plan also calls for Europe to be a carbon-neutral economy by 2050.
Because of the Ukraine war and Western sanctions, energy prices have skyrocketed, robbing the economy of funds that could otherwise have been deployed to make progress toward these goals.
As a result, the region now will need until at least 2035 to meet its interim goals.
Carbon neutrality by 2050 is still possible, but only if breakthrough technologies appear no later than 2030.