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Coal 1 - Clean energies 0

07/01/2022 | 09:12am EDT

The reduction in Russian gas supplies is forcing European countries to prepare for the coming winter. And unfortunately, in order to cope with peak consumption, most governments will have to turn to coal. Obviously, all this is a mess in the middle of the clean energy transition, but because of the lack of preparation, we will have to manage the emergency. By sending European leaders back to the mines, like the dwarves in Snow White?

In France, the Ministry of Energy Transition announced Sunday, June 26, that the government is preparing to restart the coal-fired power plant in Saint-Avold, Moselle, if needed for next winter. The German company Uniper operates Saint-Avold.

Intensité carbone de la production énergétique européenne. Instantané du 01/07/2022 à 11h10
Carbon intensity of European energy production. Snapshot of 01/07/2022 at 11:10 am (Source Electricitymap.org)
Carbon intensity increases from green (lowest intensity) to dark brown (highest intensity)

In Germany, where dependence on Russian fossil fuels is very high, restarting coal-fired power plants is also on the agenda. "It's painful, but it's a pure necessity in this situation to reduce gas consumption," said Economy Minister Robert Habeck, a member of the Green Party. This is the price to pay to avoid political blackmail, he added. In Germany, authorities are also planning to set up an auction system in the coming weeks to encourage industry to consume less gas. At the same time, the German gas market operator will get resources from KfW to quickly fill gas storage sites.

Source Statista
Which European country is most dependent on Russian gas?

In Austria, the government has asked Verbund to convert a gas-fired backup power plant to generate electricity with coal. Italy has planned to implement measures to reduce consumption, including rationing gas for some industrial users, increasing production at coal-fired power plants and requesting additional gas imports from other suppliers as part of the package.

In the United Kingdom, the government has asked EDF to keep its West Burton coal-fired power plant running during the winter. Discussions are also underway for the other two coal-fired power plants still operating in the country (Ratcliffe, operated by Uniper, and Kilroot, by the Czech EPH).

Hey Ho, Hey Ho (Drawing by Amandine Victor)

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Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
ELECTRICITÉ DE FRANCE -0.04% 11.905 Real-time Quote.20.54%
UNIPER SE 9.32% 7.445 Delayed Quote.-82.19%
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