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Collapse in coal industry threatens Europe’s energy independence - Report

Power News - Published on Wed, 20 Dec 2017

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New reports detail the decline in Europe’s coal-energy generation, due to generous state budget subsidies to renewables, and the excessive reliance on imported oil and natural gas. Strict environmental regulations add to the problem for coal producers, undermining the continent’s self-sustainability, and carrying the risk of exposing citizens to global economic shocks.

European Union officials, along with the dominant left-wing parties across Europe, have led a crusade against coal energy for decades, citing their concern that it contributes to man-made climate change.

Analysts from London-based think tank firm Carbon Tracker Initiative say the vast majority of Europe’s 619 coal power stations are bleeding money. The industry is planning to cut costs by decreasing its operational capacity in the coming years, as it struggles against the government-subsidized renewables and cheaper energy imports.

This, however, is poised to translate into higher energy and utility bills for European private and corporate consumers, driving the already high living and business costs up through the roof.

Carbon Tracker said that Europe’s coal industry is poised to lose up to 22 billion euros by 2030 unless the EU or national governments reassess their environmental policies.

Matt Gray of Carbon Tracker said that "The changing economics of renewables, as well as air pollution policy and rising carbon prices, has put EU coal power in a death spiral. Utilities can’t do much to stop this other than drop coal or lobby governments and hope they will bail them out."

Across the Atlantic, President Trump is actively working to boost America’s energy self-sustainability by deregulating the energy industry and boosting coal energy production. His administration seeks to bring down the costs of living, manufacturing production, and doing business, in order to spur the nation’s faltering GDP growth.

EU officials, on their part, appear to be more interested in clean energy, regardless of it its economic efficiency.

Mr Brian Ricketts, secretary-general of Euracoal said that "Traditional economics, based on supply, demand and market equilibrium, has all but disappeared. Our preference would be to see decarbonization take place under the economically efficient EU emissions trading system.”

Mr Ricketts also stressed renewable energy sources are unreliable, whilst the costs of oil and gas imports are unpredictable and could be manipulated by foreign suppliers to their benefit.

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Posted By : Nanda Koijam on Wed, 20 Dec 2017
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