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European countries turn to coal in the face of energy crisis

Germany, Austria, Poland and Greece reopened coal-fired power plants

Different countries in Europe resorted to the use of coal, after the lack of Russian gas supply, amid the sanctions of the European Union (EU) against that country in recent weeks.

According to a Xinhua agency dispatch, countries such as Germany, Austria, Poland, the Netherlands and Greece are among the first European nations to reopen coal-fired power plants or take steps to support coal-fired power, underscoring the importance of security of energy supply in the coming winter.

Coal-fired power generation was suspended in Europe in order to lower greenhouse gas emissions, however, it had to be reactivated in order to solve the situation on the continent.

 Last Monday, the European Commission indicated that "part of the existing coal capacities could be used for longer than initially expected" due to the new energy landscape in Europe.

 "We know that the energy mix and the plans of the Member States will be adjusted slightly because we are in an unexpected situation," commission spokesman Tim McPhie told a news conference, quoted by the news agency.

This is due to the fact that, on June 14, Gazprom announced that a second gas turbine of the Siemens company was shutting down, due to the fact that it had not returned the technical equipment used to pump gas.

The technical equipment, Gazprom detailed in a statement, was being repaired in Canada and was not returned to Russia, due to coercive measures.

Added to this are the sanctions against Moscow - especially oil, which is subject to a partial embargo -; which has led several European countries to use the reserves they had for the winter, on this occasion.

A recent report by Bloomberg revealed that, until now, it is known that the gas reserve deposits were at a 52% of its capacity, remaining close to the average level in the last five years.

This put some countries on alert. For example, Austrian energy company OMV noted that the country is preparing to receive half the normal volume of natural gas from Russia for a second day.

Greece increases coal production

The energy crisis has also put Greece in a difficult situation during its transition to a green economy.

Coal production has increased at Greece's largest coal mine near the northern city of Kozani.

 Opening a new solar facility in northern Greece in April, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis announced a 50% increase in lignite production until 2024 to bolster reserves. Plans to close more coal-fired power stations were put on hold.

"Certainly, over the next two years, it would make sense to increase coal-fired power generation, increasing coal extraction by 50 percent, so that we reduce dependence on gas in the short term," Mitsotakis said.

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