The rejection of Russian energy is forcing European countries to return to coal, which jeopardizes plans for the transition to green energy – over the past few months, some European countries have tripled their coal production.
The leaders of Austria, Germany, and the Netherlands hope coal-generated electricity will help their countries weather a predicted energy crisis this winter.
Not so long ago, the ideas of switching to renewable energy sources for the sake of caring for nature were actively promoted in Europe. For example, the United Kingdom, Italy, France and Ireland planned to close all coal thermal power plants by 2025.
But due to sanctions against Russia, gas storage facilities in Europe remain half-empty and remind European leaders that fuel shortages are possible this winter. In addition, the Nord Stream gas pipeline, which is currently loaded at 40% of its capacity for supplies to Europe, is scheduled to be completely closed for maintenance from July 11 to 21.
Against this background, green plans are being postponed, and politicians ask their citizens to save energy even in summer. For example, German Economy Minister Robert Habeck urged the people of Germany to contribute to reducing dependence on Russia in the energy sector: save on heating in their homes or drive less often in a private car, use rail or bicycle more.
According to Bloomberg, the dependence of many European countries on coal is growing due to the shortage of gas. It remains a cheap energy resource, but it is considered one of the most harmful environmental factors.
Most of the coal comes from South Africa, Colombia, Indonesia, Australia, Mozambique. But since these countries are quite far away, increasing the coal supply will cost many times more than Russia.
The situation entails the most risks for Slovakia, Hungary and the Czech Republic since these countries are the most dependent on Russian gas and do not have alternative supply routes. But Poland, Lithuania, and Romania will suffer to a lesser extent in this course of events since they can produce part of the gas independently and have alternative sources for its import.
According to analysts’ forecasts, in the event of a complete halt in gas transit from Russia, the countries of Central and Eastern Europe will face severe macroeconomic shocks. Among them, first, the fall in economic growth, high inflation, and an increase in public debt and deficit.