KOZANI, Greece (AP) — At Greece’s largest coal mine, controlled explosions and the roar of giant excavators scooping up blasted rock have once again become routine. Coal production has been ramped up at the site near the northern Greek city of Kozani as the war in Ukraine forced many European nations to rethink their energy supplies.
Coal, long treated as a legacy fuel in Europe, is now helping the continent safeguard its power supply and cope with the dramatic rise in natural gas prices caused by the war.
Electricity generated by coal in the European Union jumped by 19% in the fourth quarter of 2021 from a year earlier, according to the EU’s energy directorate, faster than any other source of power, as tension spiked between Russia and Ukraine and ahead of the invasion in late February.
Russian gas made up more than 40% of the total gas consumption in the EU last year, leaving the bloc scrambling for alternatives as prices rose and the supply was cut off to several nations. Russia also provided 27% of the EU’s oil imports and 46% of its coal imports.
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