Factbox: The energy crisis is boosting coal demand and production

Oct 18 (Reuters) – High natural gas prices and global competition for the fuel have led to increased demand for thermal coal for power generation this year as countries try to wean themselves off supply energy company and are looking for relatively cheaper alternatives.

Some countries are reopening mothballed coal-fired power plants to ensure enough power for this winter, while others are ramping up production in pursuit of hefty export profits.

Here are some of the revived coal projects and government coal plans around the world:

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Austria – The government agreed with utility Verbund (VERB.VI) in June to convert a gas-fired power plant to coal in anticipation of a power emergency.

Bosnia and Herzegovina in March approved a plan to extend the life of coal-fired power plants Tuzla 4 and Kakanj 5 by the end of 2023.

Denmark – In October, the government ordered Orsted (ORSTED.CO) to continue and resume operations at three of its oil and coal-fired power stations to ensure electricity supplies. Two of them were to be decommissioned on March 31, 2023.

Finland – Finnish utility Fortum (FORTUM.HE) plans to add 560 megawatts (MW) of capacity to the Nordic electricity market after October by reactivating an idle coal-fired power plant on the country’s west coast.

France – The Emile Huchet coal-fired power plant restarted in early October, just six months after it closed, according to local media.

Germany – The German cabinet adopted two decrees at the end of September aimed at extending the operation of important coal-fired power plants and restoring unused lignite capacities in order to increase supply and reserves in the network.

The Economy Ministry said bringing coal-fired power plants back into the mix could add up to 10 gigawatts of capacity in the event of a critical gas supply situation.

Greece – National gas network operator DESFA said in September Greece would keep seven coal-fired power plants running longer than planned, citing the ongoing energy crisis.

Italy – Among a series of measures to reduce gas consumption, Italy plans to increase production from existing coal and oil-fired power plants.

Netherlands – Dutch Energy Minister Rob Jetten said in June that the Netherlands would remove a production cap at coal-fired power plants to preserve gas.

North Macedonia has postponed the closure of its Bitola and Oslomej coal-fired power plants to 2030 and plans to open two new coal mines to supply the plants.

Poland – The country in September suspended a ban on using lignite – the dirtiest type of coal – for home heating until April 2023 to ease the supply crisis. In June, it said it planned “to increase thermal coal production from existing mines this year to a maximum of 1.5 million tonnes”.

Serbia increases coal production due to insufficient rain for hydroelectric plants. Serbian company Elektroprivreda Srbije (EPS) expects a new unit at its Kostolac power station to be commissioned by 2023, according to local sources.

Spain – The Ministry of Ecological Transition requested in May the postponement of the closure of the Endesa coal-fired power plant in As Pontes. In September, he authorized the conditional closure of two of the plant’s four groups, “given the strengthening of the power availability variables”.

UK – UK network National Grid (NG.L) has signed contracts with power producers Drax Group (DRX.L) and EDF Energy (EDF.PA) to extend the life of four electric units in coal in two power stations.

The available capacity will only be used as a last resort to ensure security of supply if necessary. Germany’s Uniper (UN01.DE) said in September it would extend the life of its coal-fired Ratcliffe power station.

Ukraine – Although most of Ukraine’s mines are in the Donbass region, seized by pro-Russian forces, the country plans to increase national stockpiles of thermal coal from 2 million tons to 3 million tons before the winter.

(** Note that the Ukrainian government has stopped publishing data on coal production since the start of the war).


Botswana – The government has estimated that demand from Europe could reach over 50,000 tonnes per month.

South Africa – European countries, scrambling to find alternatives to Russian coal, imported 40% more coal from South Africa’s main export hub in the first five months of this year than on the whole of 2021, according to figures obtained by Reuters.

Tanzania expects coal exports to double this year to around 696,773 tonnes, the country’s Mining Commission told Reuters, while production is expected to rise by 50% to around 1.365 million tonnes.


Australia – Australian resources and energy export earnings are expected to jump 7% to a record 450 billion Australian dollars ($290 billion) this financial year. Australian coal has been increasingly heading to Europe instead of India since mid-2022 after European sanctions were imposed on Russian coal following its invasion of Ukraine.

China – Beijing has approved 15 gigawatts of new coal-fired power capacity and an additional 30 million tonnes of coal-fired iron generation capacity in the first half of this year.

Research from Greenpeace East Asia shows that provincial governments across China have approved plans to add a total of 8.63 gigawatts of new coal-fired power plants in the first quarter of 2022 alone.

Indonesia – The world’s biggest coal exporter has said it can boost production to help meet demand from countries that have lost supplies from Russia.


Colombia – The government said this summer it could increase coal and oil production as it works to fill the vacuum created by sanctions against Russia.

United States – Several U.S. states, including Indiana, Wisconsin, New Mexico and Nebraska, have announced delays in planned coal-fired plant shutdowns until 2025, citing concerns about fuel shortages, among other things. ‘energy.

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Reporting by Dina Kartit; Editing by Nina Chestney and Jan Harvey

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