EU authorizes coal revival to counter Russian threat to gas supply

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The European Union will temporarily revert to coal to cope with slowing Russian gas flows, an EU official said yesterday, as a tight gas market and soaring prices spark a race for alternative fuels.

European leaders have turned to Russia after flows through its Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline were reduced to just 40% capacity, deepening an energy stalemate after the invasion of Ukraine prompted Europe to impose restrictions. severe sanctions in Moscow.

To deal with gas shortages, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said Europe must replace Russian energy supplies while doubling down on efficiency and renewables, including nuclear power.

Europe will temporarily seek fossil fuel alternatives to Russian gas in light of President Vladimir Putin’s actions, but the moves will not derail longer-term climate change goals, a senior Commission official has said. European.

“Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine has led to an emergency situation in the EU,” Elina Bardram, acting director for international affairs and climate finance at the European Commission, told the Africa Forum of the EU. energy in Brussels.

“With the very rogue moves we are seeing from the Putin administration in terms of very sudden drop in Gazprom throughput, we are taking very important steps, but all of these steps are temporary,” she added, referring to the use of coal.

Countries have outlined a range of measures to weather a supply crisis to address concerns about winter energy shortages and a spike in inflation.

On Tuesday evening, German Finance Minister Christian Lindner said there was a risk of a serious economic crisis and stressed the need for alternatives to overcome three or more years of energy shortages.

Russian gas flows to Europe through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline and deliveries through Ukraine were flat yesterday but remained significantly lower than last week when Gazprom cut capacity, citing technical issues.

Italian energy company ENI’s gas request to Gazprom on Wednesday was only partially confirmed.

The benchmark gas price for Europe was trading around €127 per megawatt-hour (MWh), below this year’s peak of €335 but still up more than 300% from its low level. a year ago.

Europe is scrambling to fill storage – now 55% – before winter as it fears further gas supply disruptions from Russia, which has already cut off some customers.

Mr Lindner’s warning came after Germany’s industry association BDI said recession in Europe’s biggest economy would be inevitable after Russian gas supplies were halted.

The EU and other developed economies have sanctioned Russian oil and coal, but delayed banning gas imports.

Bolstering aging nuclear infrastructure could provide respite from high electricity prices and supply shortages, the IEA said.

“In light of renewed interest in the role of nuclear energy in clean energy transitions, the war has underscored the need to explore options for…investments in new facilities as well as the reopening of factories. (uranium) conversion facilities.”

More broadly, $2.4 billion is expected to be invested in energy this year, including record spending on renewable energy, the agency said, but that is not enough to meet security and climate goals.

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