Europe Forced to Rely on Expensive, Dirty Coal to Keep Lights On – by Todd Gillespie (Bloomberg News – January 25, 2022)

(Bloomberg) — Coal will play a vital role in helping to keep the lights on in Europe this winter even as prices are jumping and lawmakers are doing their best to kill off one of the dirtiest power-plant fuels.

Northwest European coal for February rose more than 3% to trade at its highest in three months on Tuesday. The latest example of the fuel’s importance came on Monday as U.K.’s usage peaked at its highest level since March to help plug a gap in supplies early in the evening.

Governments from Germany to the Netherlands and the U.K. are all shuttering coal plants, which emits about twice as much carbon dioxide as plants burning gas.

At the same time, grid operators are paying a fortune to some utilities to keep them available as a last resort when supplies from renewables plunge.

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