Germany was forced this week to draw on its reserves for producing electricity, including coal fired power for the second time this winter as Europe is gripped by a severe cold snap.

The country’s four main power operators requested the reserve generator at a coal-powered plant in southern Germany and two plants in Austria be activated, the regional environment ministry in the southern state of Baden-Wuerttemberg said.

“We do not have a problem of supply, of quantity, it’s principally a question of stabilizing the network,” a spokeswoman for the Germany electricity market regulator said.

Germany also had to tap its reserves in early December. The system was set up in August to avoid shortages and stabilize the network for the country’s winter power provision.

The Vancouver Sun reports that under the reserve plan, five generators in Germany have been designated, which are powered by coal or gas and normally not in operation, as well as several in neighbouring Austria.

They can be used only at the request of the electricity network operators in case of need or as a preventive step.

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