Europe cranks up the coal

Emmet Penney at Grid Brief writes that Austria, the Netherlands, and Germany are all rolling coal now that Russia’s choking its gas supplies to Europe. If you’re not signed up yet for Grid Brief‘s free morning newsletter, I highly recommend it.

Penny writes:

In Austria, the state-controlled Verbund AG, Austria’s biggest utility and most valuable company, was ordered late Sunday to prepare its mothballed Mellach coal-fired station for operation,” reports Bloomberg. Mellach was closed two years ago when Austria phased out all coal contributions to its electricity grid.

In the Netherlands, the Dutch had previously throttled coal’s output to spare the environment. But waning gas imports from Russia has forced an about-face. “The cabinet has decided to immediately withdraw the restriction on production for coal-fired power stations from 2002 to 2024. This means that coal-fired power stations can run at full capacity again instead of the maximum of 35 percent,” minister Rob Jetten told the press.

In Germany, the country continues march towards full nuclear closure. Germany imported half its gas from Russia last year, and about a third of its gas so far this year. To ease its gas reserves, Berlin has decided to restart some of its coal plants.

Policymakers in Europe are learning a brutal lesson on the importance of energy realism. Hopefully, American policymakers can learn from the mistakes of others, so we don’t repeat them here.