"The additional emissions that are now inevitably generated must be offset in the following years," Greenpeace expert Smid said.
Germany has reactivated another coal-fired power plant in an attempt to reduce the amount of natural gas it uses to generate electricity, plant operator Uniper said on Monday.
Since its commissioning in 1987, the Heyden plant in Petershagen in the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia has been "one of the most powerful power plants" in the country with a capacity of 875 megawatts.
In early August, the coal-fired Mehrum plant in Hohenhameln became the first to return from reserve. Yet another coal-fired plant operated by another utility and already placed in the reserve is already scheduled to restart later this week and more could follow soon.
In response to reduced gas supplies from Russia, the German government has allowed plants powered by coal or oil to return to operation. The regulation to this effect initially applies until the end of the winter in early 2023.
"It is bitter but unavoidable that coal-fired power plants that have already been shut down return to the grid. To ensure that this does not turn into a step backwards for climate protection, the additional emissions that are now inevitably generated must be offset in the following years," Greenpeace climate and energy expert Karsten Smid said.
Germany is aiming to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 65 percent compared to 1990 levels by 2030. Climate neutrality is to be reached by 2045, five years earlier than the previous government's target.
As Europe has been hit by the worst drought in 500 years, river transport in Germany is still restricted due to low water levels, putting further pressure on the country's supply routes.
"We therefore have to prioritize transports carefully and deliberately," Transport Minister Volker Wissing said last week.
In order to secure the country's energy supply, rail transport is to guarantee capacities for mineral oil and coal if necessary, the German government decided last week.
"Securing the supply of power plants and thus ensuring energy supply for citizens is an extremely demanding task," Wissing said.