The Netherlands said Monday it will lift all restrictions on coal-fired power stations to counter a drop in gas supplies from Russia, a day after neighbouring Germany took a similar step.
The Dutch government had declared the first stage of a gas crisis even though it was not yet experiencing shortages, and called on people to consume less, climate and energy minister Rob Jetten said.
“The cabinet has decided to immediately withdraw the restriction on production for coal-fired power stations from 2002 to 2024,” Jetten told a news conference in The Hague.
“This means that coal-fired power stations can run at full capacity again instead of the maximum of 35 percent.”
Russian producer Gazprom said in May that it had halted gas supplies to the Netherlands after Dutch energy firm GasTerra refused to pay in rubles following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
“I want to emphasise that at the moment there’s no acute gas shortage. However, more countries are now being squeezed (by Russia). That worries us,” Jetten said.
“Because of these concerns, today I announce the first level of a gas crisis: the early warning,” he said, adding that the aim was to prepare the Netherlands for winter when gas consumption is higher.
“We are not at level three (the highest), but at the moment the risk of not doing anything is too big.”
The Dutch minister said his country had “prepared this decision with our European colleagues over the past few days”.
Germany announced emergency measures on Sunday to ensure its energy needs after a drop in Russian gas supplies, including reverting to coal in what it called a “bitter but indispensable” step.
The Dutch government said it was also making an “urgent appeal” to companies and business to save as much energy as possible, even in summer.