In the absence of Russian gas, EU countries reopen coal plants

As Russia cuts gas to Europe in response to sanctions over the Ukraine invasion, European green plans are left behind and coal plants that had been decommissioned are back in operation. At the same time, those that had a deadline to close their activities are further away from closing their doors.

In Germany, than in 2019 created a climate protection law, providing for a reduction in greenhouse gases by 66% up to

and carbon neutrality until 2050 in the country, the Heyden-4 coal plant, in the city of Petershagen, in the north of the country, was reactivated on Monday fair (29). It is the second to resume activities since the energy crisis generated by Russian pressure.

In June, the German Chancellor, Olaf Scholz, released the resumption of 47 coal plants up to 2024 and he was not the only European leader to allow this change in energy strategy. France, Austria, Italy and the Netherlands announced interest in resuming activities at coal plants that were closed.

All European Union countries have plans to abandon this type of energy, which still represents 11% of the continent’s energy production. Since 1998, more than half of the continent’s coal plants have announced the closure, which has reduced energy production in the countries and tied some of them, especially Germany and Poland, for Russian exports.

To guarantee supply, part of the European countries had to resort to the United States, Australia, Indonesia and South Africa, which increased costs. Therefore, going back and reinvesting in coal is one of the most accessible solutions for the European Union.

Even so, due to the disinvestment in recent years, it will not be a cheap solution. Europe has created a kind of tax on coal profits to limit climate damage. For each ton of carbon dioxide, the disbursement is 90 euros (about 2030 real). More than the natural cost of production, there is also an extra expense with the renovation of structures and the recovery of the workforce, which has decreased due to the measures to close this sector.

The Minister of Economy from Germany, Robert Habeck, says that this is a transitional solution, to alleviate the lack of energy in winter, which, according to him, “will be a worse crisis than the coronavirus”. Meanwhile, the French energy transition ministry talks about a “reversible decision”.

“It is disastrous, but it is a necessary evil if Europe wants to avoid, at best, power cuts in the next winter”, highlights Simone Tagliapetra, energy specialist at think tank Buergel, to the newspaper Le Monde, warning of the importance of having a solution for only the next two winters. .

Germany’s wrong path

Despite the alarms regarding the resumption of coal plants, there are other important factors in the matter energy in Europe that can be much more dangerous villains for the climate and for the coffers of the States in the long term, and not just for the next winters.

Unlike neighboring countries like France, which invest in nuclear energy as an alternative to fossil fuels, Germany, when it was under the leadership of Angela Merkel, decided to deactivate nuclear plants, due to the possible risks of leakage. An apparently sustainable option, but, in practice, it is not at all ecological and has even harmed the country’s economy, with the most expensive energy on the continent.

A model that was designed even earlier, by Gerard Schröder , who commanded Germany from 2005 to 2005, and who did not he is only a personal friend of Russian President Vladimir Putin, but he was also responsible for reinforcing the dangerous model of the German energy system, which prioritized Russian gas and oil over the nuclear plants that the country already had. He then took on senior positions in Russian state-owned companies on which Germany became highly dependent, which puts it today on the brink of recession.

Even before the war in Ukraine, Germany had to increase in the year past the production of coal-fired power plants in 22%. Gas, oil and coal account for 66% of German energy consumption. In addition, about 47% of the electricity produced in the country in 2050 came from fossil fuels.

“The German economy is totally dependent on polluting fossils and is especially vulnerable in the face of the war in Ukraine,” Fabien Bouglé, an energy policy expert, told the newspaper French Le Figaro.

In addition to clearing villages to build mines, coal-fired power plants generate 1.1 pollution. g of CO2 / kWh. Nuclear power plants, which were an alternative rejected by German ecologists, produce much less: around 6 g of CO2 / kWh.

“Germany will be one of the main actors in the degradation of the climate and will continue to be the ugly duckling of the European Union and the world. It is the so-called ecologists who support this disastrous model for the planet”, concluded Bouglé.

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