Europe resigns from coal, meanwhile, in the world, this raw material becomes more expensive and is more and more sought after. The upside was spurred by news that the Chinese government has called on factories to replenish their stockpiles of the commodity before winter, regardless of its raging prices.
On international markets, August was another month of rising coal prices, which in West European ARA ports (Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Antwerp) have already exceeded USD 160 per ton for thermal coal. This value is three times higher than last year. As recently as in January, coal prices fluctuated around 66 USD per ton. Compared to July, prices at ARA ports increased by 26.3% in August this year. Similar trends were reported last month. Hard coal prices in ARA ports have exceeded $200 per ton. This is the result of record gas prices, increased energy demand in an economy that has recovered from a pandemic-related collapse, and limited coal supplies.
According to Law and Justice MEP Izabela Kloc, EU bureaucrats are also to blame for the huge negligence they have allowed to happen when it comes to the EU’s energy security.
“They downplay Russia’s diversionary actions, even though they are the reason why gas cannot now become an energy lifeline, because it is becoming more expensive even faster than electricity. It is hard to believe that the supply interruptions are due to technical problems in Gazprom’s networks. Moscow is simply signalling to Europe that the Nord Stream 2 pipeline must be launched as soon as possible,” says Kloc.
And she adds:
“Nobody in the EU salons dares to point out the most important reason for the increase in electricity prices, namely the unreliability of Renewable Energy Sources”
In her view, for all its disadvantages, coal-fired power has one obvious advantage – it guarantees the stability of the power transmission and supply system. The same cannot be said for renewable energy, which is dependent on the whims of the weather and cannot be stored.
“Last winter, almost all of Europe got a warning signal that this system was not working. Despite this, Brussels is throwing all its efforts and resources into the promotion of “green” energy. We can see the effects of this risky strategy in our electricity bills,” Kloc points out.
Stable prices of coal in Poland are confirmed by the Katowice branch of the Industrial Development Agency (ARP), which monitors the hard coal market and the situation in the Polish mining industry. According to the ARP, in August Polish coal for the power industry was on average 5.8% cheaper than in the same month a year earlier.
However, there is a huge frustration related to the need to close Polish mines when coal is so sought after around the world. Bogusław Hutek, the head of the Company Coordination Organisation (ZOK) of the Independent Self-Governing Trade Union (NSZZ “Solidarność”) PGG (Polish Mining Group) claims that if we continue to “kneel” before Brussels, if we as a country continue to unreflectively implement further, now extremely radical EU ideas in the form of the “Fit for 55” program, we will soon be completely deprived of the possibility to use our own energy resources.
“There will be a social and economic collapse of many regions, which has already been mentioned many times, and something whose scale is difficult for us to imagine even today – a huge increase in electricity prices, also at the level of ordinary households,” he warns in an interview published on the Solidarność Górnicza (Solidarity of Miners) website.
“The agreement between the United States and Germany (allowing the completion of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline – editor’s note), which is at the same time advantageous for Russia, and the presentation by Brussels of the “Fit for 55” package tightening the “climate policy” have put our country in a dramatic situation,” he adds.