EU nations set to burn more coal this winter, already quietly loosening energy policies

Published On:Aug,29 2023    Hits: 200
Financial Associated Press, August 29 (Editor Niu Zhanlin) The French government recently extended a plan to allow power producers to burn more coal this winter to prevent potential power shortages, but tightened restrictions on the countrys two fuel plants. Operating conditions of coal power plants.

The move comes as EDF expects nuclear power output to fall below historical averages this winter as it continues to repair faulty pipes at some of its reactors. It is understood that EDF provides more than half of Frances electricity. France eased restrictions on emissions from coal-fired power plants in early 2022.

Power plants that emit large amounts of carbon dioxide, such as coal-fired plants, will be allowed to run for up to 1,800 hours, or nearly 11 weeks, this winter, up from a maximum of 2,500 hours last winter, Frances Energy Transition Ministry said last week. Under a government decree, the plants must pay more for each ton of carbon dioxide they emit.

Stress on the power system is now lower than at the same time last year, the ministry said, adding that production prospects for nuclear and renewable energy are better and energy consumption has also declined. "However, in any case, all measures must be taken to ensure the security of energy supply in France."

Frances Energy Transition Ministry added that the Russia-Ukraine conflict would not end anytime soon, which also meant energy supplies could "remain difficult". Although the EU has reached its winter gas storage target ahead of schedule, the energy supply situation remains fragile.

Electricity prices in the bloc have soared since last years decision to forego most of Russias energy supplies as part of a policy of sanctions against Russia. France, once an electricity exporter to the EU, had to rely heavily on electricity imports from neighboring countries last winter.

Its worth noting that while fears of power outages after Russia cut gas supplies to Europe last year have largely receded, governments across Europe are adopting energy-saving measures to limit consumer bills.

During the energy crisis last year, coal consumption in many EU countries also increased, and Germany even temporarily resumed some coal-fired power plants that had previously stopped operating.

In April of this year, Germany officially shut down the last three nuclear power plants in its territory, and nuclear power will completely withdraw from the stage in Germany. But it also means that Germanys energy supply is more vulnerable, and coal-fired power plants have become one of the countrys backup options.

Meanwhile, Poland has launched legal action to try to dismantle three key EU climate change policies that the Polish government argues would increase social inequality.

Poland argues that the EUs emissions reduction targets threaten Polands energy security and limit coal mining jobs in the country. About 70% of Polands electricity comes from coal generation.

The EU has the worlds most ambitious climate change policy and is urging governments to use EU money to help vulnerable regions invest in clean energy to lower energy bills and reduce health-damaging air pollution.

The European Union tried to close Polands Tero coal mine. However, the Polish government chose to refuse, saying it was essential to providing employment and energy for the country, and wanted to extend the mines operation until 2040.
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