BE CO@L
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NEWS AND EVENTS

NEWS AND EVENTS

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myths facts

MYTHS and FACTS

myth:

Europe is the biggest coal producer in the world

FALSE
fact:

In 2017 coal production in Europe amounted to 464 million tons which is only a fraction (6,1 %) of world production.

myth:

Coal is responsible for negative climate changes

FALSE
fact:

Only 5% of total CO2 emissions is related to human activity, and the other 95% comes from natural sources. Only 29% of that is related to the energy sector.

myth:

European Union activities regarding CO2 emissions reduction have a significant impact upon climate change

FALSE
fact:

CO2 emissions across the whole European Union constitute only 9% of global emissions. The biggest emitters are China (30%) and the USA (15%), therefore these are the countries that should take measures aimed at CO2 emissions reduction.

myth:

Coal consumption is constantly dropping

FALSE
fact:

In 1990 the consumption of coal was about 4.5 billion tons, while in 2017 it increased by over 67%, reaching 7.55 billion tons. Consumption increase is particularly visible in developing countries in the South East Asia region, Australia and North America.

myths facts

MYTHS and FACTS

myth:

In recent years GHG emissions increased mainly in Europe

FALSE
fact:

GHG emissions in Europe have been decreasing for the last few decades, reaching the level of 4.15 billion tons in 2017, while emissions in 1990 were at the level of 4.7 billion tons and in 2000 - 4.45 billion tons. Actions taken in Europe, including Poland, contribute to smaller emissions of the economy.

myth:

The current decarbonisation policy has a positive impact upon the EU economy

FALSE
fact:

Actions related to decarbonisation of EU economies contribute to transfer of production outside their borders. In 2017 the balance of trade in the European Union was negative and it amounted to 178.8 billion EUR, and since 2000 the cumulative value reached minus 3,792 billion EUR.

myth:

The European Union is highly independent of imported fuels

FALSE
fact:

In 2015 the cost of fuels imported to the European Union reached approximately PLN 1.1 billion. At the same time, dependence on imported coal, oil and gas increased from 52% in 1990 to 74% in 2016.

myths facts

MYTHS and FACTS

myth:

The global decarbonisation policy gives results in decreasing CO2 emissions

FALSE
fact:

From the first climate summit in 1995 (COP1 in Berlin), global GHG emissions increased from 21.9 billion tons to 33.4 billion tons in 2017.

myth:

Coal imports to the European Union are marginal

FALSE
fact:

In 2017 all the EU countries together imported 173 million tons of coal, which corresponds to the transfer of about 58 coal mines outside the EU borders and thus to 175,000 jobs directly at coal mines and another 525,000 jobs in sectors related to the mining industry. It is estimated that coal imports caused transfer of almost EUR 13 billion outside the EU borders.

myth:

Subsidies for renewables are at a minimum level, because these sources are for free

FALSE
fact:

When analysing the amount of subsidies for power production in the European Union it becomes apparent that subsidies for renewables amount to 110 EUR/MWh on average, while the subsidies for conventional fuels amount to 78,50 EUR/MWh.

myths facts

MYTHS and FACTS

myth:

Coal can be easily replaced with Renewable Energy Sources

FALSE
fact:

Energy produced in wind and solar installations is not stable, because it strictly depends on weather conditions and therefore they operate for a small number of hours per year. Wind farms operate for about 25% of time in a year, while solar plants for 15% of time. As a comparison, coal-fired power plants can operate for 55-60% of time in a year, while their shutdowns and overhauls are planned, as opposed to RES shutdowns.

myths facts

MYTHS and FACTS

myth:

Coal-based Energy generation sector uses obsolete technology

FALSE
fact:

Coal-fired units constructed in the 1960-70s are low efficiency units and they will be gradually phased out. Since the year 2000 the efficiency of new coal-fired units has increased by 10%, where an increase of 1% in efficiency translates to CO2 emissions reduction by 2-3%. New power units are equipped with comprehensive, high-efficiency flue gas treatment systems (denitrification, dedusting and desulphurisation), which successfully reduce the emission of nitrogen oxides, dusts and sulphur oxides. Since 1988 GHG emissions in the energy sector dropped by more than 33%.

ANSWERS

QUESTIONS and ANSWERS

What is the cause of smog?

What is needed for smog to be formed are appropriate weather conditions (low temperature, small wind, low humidity) and land topography, as well as the presence of polluting substance emissions. In large cities with developed district heating, the main emitters of pollutants are cars and busses, while in suburban and rural areas emissions are also caused by farming and combustion of inappropriate substances (waste, wood that is not dry enough).

Is it possible to cover 100 % of Energy demand with renewables?

There are various systems of using renewable energy sources, with most of them being dependent on weather conditions, such as wind and sun. At present there are no energy storage facilities with adequate capacity, therefore, together with installations that use renewables, it is necessary to build auxiliary (emergency) sources to produce energy when there is no wind or when the cloud cover is high.

ANSWERS

QUESTIONS and ANSWERS

What is energy poverty?

Energy poverty is a problem that is also observed in developed EU countries and it refers to a situation where part of the society cannot afford to properly heat their building or home or cannot afford to pay their energy bills. All over the European Union 24.5% of inhabitants are exposed to the risk of energy poverty and 9% of the society live in energy poverty.

Which heat source is the cheapest?

Taking into account data concerning the production of heat in Polish heating plants in 2016, we can clearly see that coal still remains the cheapest source of energy. The cost of generating 1 GJ of energy from coal is PLN 32.0, while from RES (biomass) it is PLN 39.1, from natural gas - PLN 53.3 and from fuel oil - as much as PLN 77.3.

ANSWERS

QUESTIONS and ANSWERS

What is the volume of coal imports to Europe?

In 2017 coal imports to Europe amounted to 173 million tons, with the largest importers being: Germany (47.9 million tons), Spain (19.2 million tons), the Netherlands (16.2 million tons), France (15.7 million tons) and Italy (15.3 million tons).

Is energy from renewables free?

Energy generated through RES-based installations is almost free at operating stage, but it requires high financial outlays at the investment stage. The prices of electric power for households are higher in countries with a large share of photovoltaic and wind installations than in countries that use coal.

ANSWERS

QUESTIONS and ANSWERS

Many work establishments in Europe, that employ thousands of people, are being closed. Why are miners covered with a protective umbrella?

If this is to be transformation (and not liquidation), then we need to preserve the value chain that the mining sector generates for the social and economic development of regions and take into account the differences between the level of development of particular countries and regions. This requires creating equivalent jobs in other mature and specialised sectors and providing appropriate financing for the process.

ANSWERS

QUESTIONS and ANSWERS

How much can mining regions' transformation cost in Europe?

An expert report prepared by the University of Economics in Katowice showed that in the case of Polska Grupa Górnicza [Polish Mining Group] the cost of transformation into another, most likely industry (automotive, construction, other technological sectors) would be about EUR 44 billion, and only provided that a very important condition is met - namely that there will be investors ready to recreate those jobs in other mature sectors.

Does giving up coal in favour of renewables mean that the energy prices would be lower?

Half of the energy produced from renewables in Western European countries is subsidised. In 2015 the total subsidies for RES amounted to EUR 60 billion, while subsidies for coal production in the same period amounted to EUR 4.2 billion. Taking into account the investment costs per MW of installed capacity, investments in renewables are more expensive than investments in this unit based on coal. Subsidised RES are highly unstable in operation and they have priority as regards energy transfer to the grid. This requires maintaining high power reserves based on conventional fuels and it has a negative impact upon their economics.

MULTIMEDIA

MULTIMEDIA


The role of coal and steel
in the European Union

Energy 24
Video summary

Energy 24
Tomasz Rogala
CARBON

CARBON

Carbon is one of the most common elements in the Universe. It is the chemical building block of life on Earth and carbon products are an inextricable part of our everyday lives. As the basis of several chemical compounds, carbon is found in food, fuels, fertilisers, cleaning products, drinks and medicines – in other words, almost everything man encounters each and every day. As an element, carbon plays an increasingly greater role in our civilisation. It is the basis of the over 10 million organic compounds known to man. Therefore, it plays a crucial role in nearly all fields of life. Without it, we would not have advanced in medicine, pharmacy, biology, chemistry, physics, materials, metallurgy, textiles, gastronomy, automotive, aeronautics, cosmonautics, cosmetics, energy, electronics or arts.

COAL FUEL

COAL AS A FUEL

Bituminous coal is a solid mineral fuel. It is a sedimentary rock formed from dead plants, mainly during the Carboniferous period, around 360-300 million years ago – in the Palaeozoic era. Over time, with heat and pressure, the dead plant material was subjected to coalification, a process which increases the percentage content of carbon (C), and decreases the amount of oxygen, hydrogen and other substances. In a nutshell, bituminous coal is solar energy converted by the process of photosynthesis – a biological process – in to biomass and then stored through the slow geological processes occurring on Earth.

ENERGY

DATA HARD AS COAL

The European Union is the world's largest producer of lignite

383 million tonnes in 2017

Significant quantities of bituminous coal are extracted in the EU

81 million tonnes in 2017, including 65.5 million tonnes in Poland

The European Union is the fourth largest importer of coal
after China,India and Japan million tonnes in 2017

Conventional energy reserves in the EU lie mainly in coal deposits
– coal and lignite reserves in the EU account 89% of the total.

A CHEAP AND STABLE
SOURCE OF ENERGY

In Poland, the heat generated from coal in boilers is two times cheaper than heat from gas, and four times cheaper than heat from electricity or LPG.

In Poland, the cost of producing one gigajoule (1 GJ) of heat from coal is, on average, €5.70 – enough to heat a home for a week.

For comparison, the cost of producing:

  • 1 GJ of heat from gas is c. €11,
  • 1 GJ of heat from oil amounts to c. €18,
  • 1 GJ of heat from electricity is c. €22.

JOBS FOR TECHNICIANS
AND SPECIALIST ENGINEERS

The coal and lignite industry provides well-paid jobs in an industry worth €22 billion annually. Simultaneously, it contributes to the development of the economy and drives prosperity – it is estimated that one job in the coal mining sector contributes to three jobs in related sectors.
Qualified engineers and technicians work in this area of the economy. Coal mining and coal use create a demand for the advice of specialists from academic centres, whose research may benefit the needs of the entire economy.

HOW MUCH CARBON IS IN COAL?

future

CLEAN TECHNOLOGIES

Advanced research is currently ongoing on the gasification of coal and lignite. The process has several significant and ecological advantages. Gasification decreases the emissions of harmful oxides of sulphur and nitrogen.

Simultaneously, it makes it possible to supply more useful energy than from traditional combustion processes. Such a solution creates the possibility of producing fuels for cars, aeroplanes and other equipment powered by combustion engines.

NO SMOKE – JUST FIRE

Polish scientists have developed a variety of so-called smoke-free coal (blue coal). It is a degassed, low-emission fuel that easily ignites and does not cause harm to the natural environment. This technology is continuously being improved.

AND WHAT ABOUT CARBON DIOXIDE?

One of the products of coal combustion is carbon dioxide. Its increased presence in the atmosphere is considered to be the reason for global warming. Academic circles are looking for ways to utilise CO2 to finally solve the problem related to the presence of this gas in the atmosphere. Experts recommend producing fuel for cars and aeroplanes from carbon dioxide using an artificial photosynthesis process. The method still requires further development of the technology, not least to ensure its profitability.

economy

COAL – THE START
OF AN ECONOMIC VALUE CHAIN

As history shows, coal is the driving force for technological advancement. Coal initiated the industrial revolution. Thanks to coal the steel and machinery industries continue to develop, and so its extraction supports the entire European economy. Coal sits at the start of a long value chain.

The modern coal and lignite industry helps in the creation of new materials, facilitating the processes of energy production and processing, while continuously improving the quality and safety of our lives.

Coal is one of the most important sources of heat and electricity, as well as the basis for various branches of modern industry, e.g. steel and cement. In propelling the development of new technologies, it contributes to the emergence and broad application of new clean coal technologies.

The coal industry offers, therefore:

  • well-paid jobs,
  • knowledge and technological advancement,
  • technical skills and competences.

beco@l

IF NOT COAL,
THEN WHAT?

Coal is one of the most important sources of energy. In the opinion of many specialists, it is impossible to completely replace coal and lignite with alternatives within the time horizon of current climate and energy policies.

The International Energy Agency predicts that, in the coming decades, the world will not be able to meet the demand for energy without coal. It is envisaged that, with new technologies, coal will become an eco-friendly energy material – almost as emission-free as renewable sources of energy.

EXHIBITION GALLERY

"Be coal" exhibition
in the European Parliament in Strasbourg

CONGRESS ENERGY24

CONGRESS ENERGY24