If there is still any doubt that Europe’s Net Zero agenda is turning into an economic and political disaster the continent’s ineptitude to cope with the deepening energy crisis is an acknowledgement that Europe’s renewable energy transition is facing utter failure.
According to Bloomberg, European companies have asked Russia to increase its coal supplies to Europe in order to alleviate a potential energy disaster as a cold winter months approach. European electricity companies are desperate for more Russian coal as in face of record gas prices while unreliable wind and solar are incapable to provide the necessary energy and security to keep the lights on and homes warm.
Power producers in the continent are being forced to ask Russia for more coal to ease an energy crunch with winter approaching and record-high gas prices denting profitability, according to officials at two Russian coal companies.
But they may be left stranded as any increase in exports from the country won’t be substantial, they said.
Having largely turned away from coal for years in an attempt to green its electricity generation, Europe is now in a conundrum. The region’s gas storage sites are only partially full, liquefied natural gas suppliers are favoring Asia, and intermittent renewables aren’t able to fully meet demand. With the winter heating season approaching, the dependence on Russia to keep the lights on is growing.
“If all the European utilities switch to coal, it will result in a huge spike in coal demand that Russia alone cannot provide for on such a short notice,” said Natasha Tyrina, a principal research analyst at Wood Mackenzie Ltd. in Houston. “That would need supply from other countries as well, from the U.S. for example, but the situation there is similar to everywhere else.”
Europe’s plight highlights the energy supply crisis that’s gripping the world as countries emerge from the pandemic. Demand for oil, gas and electricity is surging, while coal is making a comeback, driven in part by China. The fuel’s resurgence, and countries’ recent dependence on it to keep their economies running, makes critical climate talks much more complicated with the COP26 meeting just weeks away.