Coal and European energy security in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

About this webinar

The use of coal for power generation has been declining in much of Europe, driven down by EU and national policies promoting mainly intermittent renewables and natural gas. Some countries aim to eliminate coal entirely, although the situation varies across Europe. Phasing out coal may be more difficult in a number of Eastern Europe countries as they have few affordable alternatives available.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has had significant impacts on the European energy sector, and energy security has become a major concern. Imported Russian coal has been replaced by increased indigenous production or via imports from non-Russian sources. In several EU member states, plans to wind down coal mining operations have been deferred.

The reduced availability of Russian natural gas and the impact on electricity prices has resulted in a limited revival of coal power in many European countries, with some previously closed coal power plants brought back online, and the lifetime of others extended. This European resurgence in coal power seems likely to last at least for the next few years. However, the weather, market factors, and how the war proceeds, may mean that in some cases, it could continue well beyond that.