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Europe’s Energy Crisis Forcing Power Companies To Switch To Coal

uk coal power station

European utility providers are preparing to switch to alternative energy sources to meet demand, including carbon-rich coal, as gas supply problems continue, analysts have said.

If energy providers are forced to compete for the limited amount of gas supply, prices will continue to soar with costs “inevitably” passed down to consumers.

“The long and short of it is that, unless there is a mild winter or an ease in demand, the EU utilities will have to look to alternative energy sources to meet the demand,” said Slava Kiryushin, global head of energy at DWF, an international provider of legal and business services.

“While most may read ‘alternative energy sources’ as “renewables”, the energy market may have an alternative definition: coal,”

While upping coal production will not be welcomed by many as Europe looks to lower its carbon emissions to meet climate change targets, it is a far more economic source of fuel, Mr. Kiryushin said.

“It remains to be seen how the European utilities will balance the rise in carbon emissions and consumer sentiment against the unavailability or unaffordability of power from less carbon-intensive sources.”

European coal lined up for delivery next year rose to its highest level since 2008 on Friday, on strong demand from power stations and low stockpiles.

Coal for Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and Antwerp gained 2.6 percent to $137 a tonne, as soaring natural gas costs are continuing to push European utilities toward coal-fired generation. …snip…

UK Also Turns To Coal-Fired Power Stations

Britain has also been forced to run coal-fired power stations to secure energy supplies, electricity generation company Drax said.

The country is particularly exposed to Europe’s energy crisis due to its reliance on natural gas to generate electricity with the price of European gas futures more than doubling since May.

“These facilities have fulfilled a critical role in keeping the lights on at a time when the energy system is under considerable pressure,” Drax said.

Drax, which owns the nation’s biggest facility in Yorkshire in northern England, had planned to switch from coal to biomass this year to help tackle climate change.

The group could now extend the use of coal, chief executive Will Gardiner said.

“We’re very aware that the country might have a significant problem and if there’s something Drax can do we will absolutely think about doing that,” he said.

Any delay could complicate Britain’s plans to scrap coal-powered electricity generation by October 2024, as Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government seeks to reduce Britain’s carbon emissions to net zero by 2050.

Read rest at The National

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