Gas pumping
Gas pumping ISTOCK

Europe, once reliant on Russian gas, is hurrying to find alternate energy sources, and is reportedly considering returning to burning coal to deal with reduced gas, Reuters reported.

The EU faces a severe energy shortage this winter if supply levels are not set back to normal.

The crisis, and consumer anger over record high gas prices, has caused European nations to consider the unthinkable: returning to the burning of coal.

Both Italy and Germany have been told by Russian energy supplier Gazprom that they will be sent a much lower output of gas than requested, with Germany looking seriously at restarting coal plants it had been adamant about phasing out in the name of fighting climate change.

“That is painful, but it is a sheer necessity in this situation to reduce gas consumption,” German Economy Minister Robert Habeck said.

Habeck, a member of the Green party which has long campaign for closing coal plants, added: “If we don’t do it, then we run the risk that the storage facilities will not be full enough at the end of the year towards the winter season. And then we are blackmailable on a political level.”

On Monday, Russia blamed Europe for the crisis, saying that it was directly responsible for imposing sanctions on Moscow in response to its invasion of Ukraine, which is a gas transportation hub between Russia and Europe.