Coal in Europe
Coal production in Europe is falling, and imports exceed production. If production and consumption continue at the present rate, proven and economically recoverable world reserves would last for about 150 years. According to IEA Coal Information (2007) world production and use of coal have increased considerably in recent years. There is, however, growing controversy in Europe over the use of coal, as many denounce it for reasons such as health risks and links to global warming.
Coal supply in the EU
IEA reports the EU 27 data since 1990. EU supply of coal as fuel has reduced from 1990 value of 5,250 TWh to 2009 as 3,135 TWh. The share of own local coal emissions of EU of the world were 14% in 2000 and 9% in 2008. The coal use in the EU reduced in eight years to 95% and increased in the world to 142% compared to year 2000. In addition to own direct coal use, coal is also consumed via imported goods. In 2009 coal supply in the EU:
Coal includes hard coal, brown coal, lignite and peat. Coal from fields differ in ash and moisture content, energy value, volatile elements, sulphur content etc. Hard coal is a relatively high value coal, while brown coal has a lower energy content and higher moisture content. Hard coal can be divided in coking coal, used in the iron and steel industry, and steam coal for energy purposes.
Production and import
In 2010 Russia, Kazakhstan and Poland produced most coal in Europe. Major coal importers in 2010 were Germany (45 Mt), Turkey (27 Mt), United Kingdom (26 Mt) and Italy (22 Mt). Major electricity production from coal in 2009 was in Germany (257 TWh), Russia (164 TWh) and Poland (135 TWh).
In 2009 the new electricity capacity in the European Union was 25 GW: 10.2 GW from wind power, 6.6 GW from natural gas, 4.2 GW from photovoltage solar power, and 2.4 GW from coal power. The total amount of public support for electricity production from coal is around €10 billion in 2012. Since 1970 this has accumulated to between €100 and 200 billion. When disregarding subsidies and externalities, coal has the lowest average cost in EU. Coal has the highest external cost.
Coal, as the largest artificial contributor to carbon dioxide emissions, has been attacked for its detrimental effects on health. Coal has been linked to acid rain, smog pollution, respiratory diseases, mining accidents, reduced agricultural yields and climate change. Proponents of coal downplay these claims and instead advocate the low cost of using coal for energy. Many European countries, such as Italy, have turned to coal as natural gas and oil prices rose.
Coal technology has also advanced over the years, and emissions of soot and gases released in the burning of coal have been greatly reduced. New "clean coal" technology, which often refers to carbon capture and storage, is a new and still-developing technology that seeks to capture carbon dioxide from power plants and prevent it from entering the atmosphere by storing it. Proponents of clean coal argue that it can effectively eliminate coal's contributions to climate change, while opponents doubt whether it can be done on a large scale.
The Dutch Research Institute CE Delft estimates that the worldwide "external costs", or hidden costs, of coal in 2007 were €360 billion, excluding the costs of accidents, mining damages, and any loss of cultural heritage or human rights violations that occur as a result of coal production. According to IEA the coal based emissions in 1971–2008 were 303,262 Mt worldwide, 58,210 Mt (19.2%) in OECD Europe, and 5,086 Mt (1.7%) in non-OECD Europe. Europe here excludes European Russia and all the ex-Soviet states. The estimated external costs of coal carbon emissions in 2007 were €69 billion in OECD Europe and €6 billion in non-OECD Europe.
The coal mining industry also has occupational hazards. In the Komi Republic, Russia, at the centre of the mining industry, occupational diseases are five time more prevalent than in the rest of the Russian Federation. Accidents are also known to happen in coal mines, caused by the liberation of methane from mining.
- Gleision Colliery mining accident UK September 2011
- Suhodolskaya-Vostochnaya coal mine Ukraine July 2011
- 2010 Zonguldak mine disaster Turkey May 2010
- Raspadskaya mine explosion Russia, May 2010
- 2009 Wujek-Śląsk mine blast Poland, September 2009
- 2009 Handlová mine blast Slovakia, August 2009
- Petrila Mine disaster Romania November 2008
- 2008 Ukraine coal mine collapse Ukraine June 2008
- 2007 Zasyadko mine disaster Ukraine November 2007
- Yubileynaya mine Russia May 2007
- Ulyanovskaya Mine disaster Russia, March 2007
- Luisenthal Mine Germany February 1962
- Marcinelle Belgium August 1956
- Courrières mine disaster France March 1906
|Annual CO2 emissions from coal in Europe (Mt) (IAE)|
|Population||1990||2000||2000-4||2005-8= #||# / 2000||# / 1990||# / capita|
|Mt = million tonnes of CO2 # = 2005–2008
Top 20 countries and the number order based on emissions in 2008
- Energy in Sweden 2008 (pdf)
- Energy in Sweden 2010, Facts and figures Table 52 Global supply of coal, 1990–2009 (TWh)
- IEA Key World Energy Statistics 2011 October 2011
- Wind in power, 2009 European statistics February 2010, page 6
- "Subsidies and costs of EU energy. Project number: DESNL14583" Pages: iv, vii, 36. EcoFys, 10 October 2014. Accessed: 20 October 2014. Size: 70 pages in 2MB.
- Dirty Thirty, Ranking of the most polluting power stations in Europe 5/2007, WWF
- The True Cost of Coal Greenpeace 27 November 2008
- Rosenthal, Elisabeth Europe Turns Back to Coal, Raising Climate Fears 23 April 2008 New York Times 24 November 2011
- IEA Key World Energy Statistics 2011 October 2011. Table: CO2 emissions: Sectoral Approach – Coal/peat
- Coal from the East and the South, Responsibility in energy company coal purchases, FinnWatch 23 December 2010
- Media related to Europe at Wikimedia Commons