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Vapor is released from a chimney at the Staudinger coal and gas power plant, operated by Uniper SE, in Grosskrotsenberg, Germany, on Sunday, Feb. 13, 2022. Germany's new coalition wants to phase out coal by 2030, but bringing plans forward by eight years would require a new round of negotiations.

Germany could extend its use of coal as the country rethinks its energy plans in the aftermath of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, according to Economy Minister Robert Habeck. 

The former co-leader of the Green party said coal plants could run for longer and even said he wasn’t  “ideologically opposed” to extending the use of nuclear energy. Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced on Sunday plans to build two new liquefied natural gas terminals to expand Germany’s energy choices and reduce its reliance on Russia. 

The government wants to reach a point where it can “pick and choose which countries we want to build energy partnerships with,” Habeck said in an interview late on Sunday on ARD television. “Being able to choose also means, in case of doubt, that you can become independent from Russian gas, coal or oil.”

While Germany can manage without Russian gas for the coming months, the country would have to expand its purchasing strategy significantly for next winter, he said.