It’s just another day in the global energy crisis: Years of climate goals are evaporating
The threat of the Russians cutting off gas completely through Nord stream 1 has focused Europe on the blessings of coal and the reality of surviving winter with only windmills and solar panels to keep warm.
Germany, France, Austria, and the UK have already changed plans to shut coal plants or have plans to revive old ones. Hungary has now also declared a state of emergency and said it will boost gas production and stop exports. No sharing allowed now.
Only two years ago Greece was going green — phasing out brown coal but now the Greek power corporation has been told to stop the phase out of coal. Last year lignite provided only 5% of the electricity in Greece, now the aim is 20%.
Budapest says it will boost its annual production of natural gas from 1.5 billion cubic metres to 2 billion cubic metres. The EU member state also plans to increase the extraction of coal and restore an offline lignite-fired power plant in Matra.
Energy exports will be banned, and Hungary’s only nuclear power plant will extend its operating times to increase production, Gulyás said on Wednesday. Citizens have also been ordered to “moderate their consumption or pay the surplus at the market price”. The measures — which go against Hungary’s climate commitments — are set to go into effect in August.
Earlier on Wednesday, Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó also announced that Hungary would seek to buy an additional 700 million cubic metres of gas from an unknown country.
Greece is planning to ramp up the use of lignite as an alternative power source to natural gas, which has become extremely expensive in the wake of the war in Ukraine. Lignite, or brown coal, is formed from naturally compressed peat and has a carbon content of around 35 percent. Greece is the tenth largest producer of lignite while Germany is the first. In 2020, Mitsotakis announced a plan to cease the burning of lignite in all of the country’s power plants by 2023, save for at the Ptolemaida 4 power plant, which would be shut down by 2028.
Yet, the Greek Public Power Corporation (DEH) has already been asked to stop its efforts of phasing out lignite, and Mitsotakis himself ordered lignite mining to be ramped up by 50 percent in April. Kostas Skrekas, Greek Minister of the Environment and Energy, told DEH to up the percentage of lignite in its electricity source to 17 to 20 percent from 5 percent, as it was last year.
Remember when coal was a stranded asset?
All those poor investors who read The Guardian…
Speaking of investors: after two years China is rumoured to be talking of reversing the ban on Australian metallurgical coal used in making steel.
Australian exports account for 58 per cent of the global seaborne trade or metallurgical coal, a vital ingredient in steelmaking. China meanwhile loves to make steel, accounting for 57 per cent of world steel production in 2020. However, there are rumours that China may be preparing to reverse its unofficial ban on Australian coal imports in August or September.
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July 14, 2022 at 03:18PM