In view of the gas supply stop from Russia, the Netherlands are boosting the production of coal-fired power plants again. The country is in the first phase of a gas crisis, Energy Minister Rob Jetten warned in The Hague on Monday.

There are still no bottlenecks. But Russia’s decision to stop or sharply reduce gas supplies to European countries could quickly deteriorate the situation. The Minister urged citizens and companies to save as much energy as possible.

In view of the climate crisis, the production of coal-fired power plants had been reduced to 35 percent. From now on, the power plants are to run at full power again until 2024. The gas that would be saved as a result is to be stored for the winter. The government will do everything to secure the energy supply for citizens and companies. “The risk of doing nothing is too great,” said Jetten.

Coal is expected to increase CO2 emissions. The energy minister announced new measures to reduce emissions of climate pollutants in other sectors.

For the time being, the Netherlands does not want to restart production from its own gas fields in Groningen in the north-east. Due to numerous earthquakes, production had been severely reduced and is scheduled to stop from 2023. Only “as a last resort” is it being considered to pump more Groningen gas again, said the minister. Such a crisis could arise in the event of major bottlenecks in your own country, but also if, for example, the supply in Germany becomes problematic.

Russia stopped supplying gas to the Netherlands in May. So far, however, this has not led to any bottlenecks. The country covered about 15 percent of its gas needs from Russia.