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Why is Poland importing so much coal?


clifborder4fm 20 | 35
15 Jul 2013 #1
I was just wondering why the country with the largest coal reserves in Europe would be importing so much. I know 93% of Poland's energy is reliant on coal and I know PGE is building a huge new coal plant in Opole but shouldn't the domestic reserves suffice? or at least shouldn't imports be low, not exponentially increasing? Especially with the EU carbon emissions rules working against the Polish coal industry so heavily.. Just find it strange that imports have risen and exports have fallen over the past 30 years..

indexmundi.com/energy.aspx?country=pl&product=coal&graph=imports

indexmundi.com/energy.aspx?country=pl&product=coal&graph=exports
szkotja2007 27 | 1,498
15 Jul 2013 #2
I was just wondering why the country with the largest coal reserves in Europe

- Germany ??
Grzegorz_ 51 | 6,161
15 Jul 2013 #3
I was just wondering why the country with the largest coal reserves in Europe would be importing so much.

The way this country is run, we would have been importing sand If we had been Egypt.
gumishu 12 | 6,103
15 Jul 2013 #4
imported coal is simply cheaper as it is mined from open-pit mines - what is more Poland has not enough coke-grade coal and we must import it
delphiandomine 88 | 18,454
15 Jul 2013 #5
The way this country is run, we would have been importing sand If we had been Egypt.

Did the Dear Leader tell you to say that?

It's pretty obvious why Poland is importing more and more.
jon357 71 | 21,107
15 Jul 2013 #6
It's pretty obvious why Poland is importing more and more.

A wonderful sign
OP clifborder4fm 20 | 35
15 Jul 2013 #7
yeah did some more research and figured it out for the most part.

"Between the 1990s and 2000s, the coal industry underwent major restructuring, which led to the early closure of many coal mines and a sudden decrease in production output. In fact, due to this restructuring process, Poland's coal production has spiralled into a steady decline. More recently, coal imports exceeded exports for the first time in history."

worldcoal.org/resources/ecoal-archive/ecoal-current-issue/coal-profile-poland/

When this industry becomes more privatized as they claim, in addition to the new PGE deal, exports should probably rise in the future
gumishu 12 | 6,103
15 Jul 2013 #8
a couple of closed coal mines have been recently or are being reopened
Grzegorz_ 51 | 6,161
15 Jul 2013 #9
imported coal is simply cheaper

That's also largely due to lack of badly needed investments in 90's and 00's, some coal mines were shyt and really needed to be shut down, others just needed some improvements.
TheOther 6 | 3,692
16 Jul 2013 #10
some coal mines were shyt and really needed to be shut down

All coal mines are sh*t and should be shut down as long as they produce for power plants only. These are some of the worst polluters on the planet
Meathead 5 | 495
16 Jul 2013 #11
You can make methanol, ethanol and natural gas from coal. Converting coal to gas takes 50% of the carbon out of the waste stream. It's not in the interest of Poland or the UK for that matter to import coal when they have such large reserves and have to import so much energy. Both countries can reduce their imports of oil by adding methanol/ethanol to the gasoline mix and clean up their emissions to boot.
gumishu 12 | 6,103
16 Jul 2013 #12
Converting coal to gas takes 50% of the carbon out of the waste stream

gasifying coal is not a clean technology, lots of benzene (and similar) emissions into the atmosphere
Meathead 5 | 495
17 Jul 2013 #13
capture it and recycle. Benzene has industrial applications.
johnny reb 37 | 7,699
21 Feb 2018 #14
Just find it strange that imports have risen and exports have fallen over the past 30 years..

Poland's coal imports increased by 60% last year by importing over 13 millions tons.
There was a drop in extraction of coal in Poland last year by over a million tons.
Does this increase mean that Poland burned 60% more coal then in 2016 ?
If so why such an increase in one year ?
Bobko 11 | 1,120
11 Aug 2022 #15
Merged:

Poland and Coal



Dearest PF members,

I'm curious to collect your opinions on Poland's special relationship with coal.

From a DW article published today:

Poland uses 10 million tons of coal a year to heat households - a whopping 87% of all coal consumed in EU homes in 2019, according to the Warsaw-based independent think tank Forum Energii. About half of this is extracted domestically, while Russia used to make up about 40%, or 3.9 million tons a year.

While the rest of Europe is discussing how to wean itself off Russian gas and oil, Poland surprises (as it tends to do) with its own unique set of challenges. The Świnoujście LNG terminal, and Baltic Pipe, seem to have done very little towards protecting Polish energy consumers. While Morawiecki lectures Germany and France regarding their naïveté vis-a-vis Russia, it emerges (suddenly) that Poland is itself compromised.

An elderly couple was interviewed for this article. Quote:

Barbara and Witold Walesa - a retired couple who lives in the small town of Deblin, 100 kilometers (60 miles) south of Warsaw - have recently shifted to natural gas as their main fuel source for heating. They use coal only as a top-up reserve when they need it.

"It's up to about 2,500 zlotys, about four times higher than last year," Barbara told DW. "We are probably OK, but some won't be when it gets cold."


How did this state of affairs come to be? I know Pawian will say that it is the fault of PiSheads, but if one is to be objective and honest - this cannot be the whole reason.

As Poland searches the world for coal, from South Africa, Indonesia, to the United States - what are the attitudes of the local population towards this traditional, yet dirty form of energy and heat? What lessons can be extracted?
pawian 195 | 19,915
11 Aug 2022 #16
it is the fault of PiSheads

Coz it is.
First, they had allowed an uncontrollable import of RuSSist coal for years. Imported RuSSist coal was cheap and it pushed Polish coal out of the market.

Second, they put an embargo on RuSSist coal in early April which was a good and decent move altogether. However, they did nothing afterwards, waiting senselessly for a miraculous god send supply of coal from Heaven. That is why there is a huge shortage of coal now and it is expensive.

What lessons can be extracted?

Firstly, we need to invest a lot into renewable energy.
Secondly, we need to look for reliable suppliers of coal in the world.

Trade with RuSSia is out of question until RuSSists give up Ukraine and their sick dreams of reviving the USSR. I`d rather sleep in my fur coat in the cold bedroom than agree to trade with RuSSists again.
pawian 195 | 19,915
11 Aug 2022 #17
Firstly, we need to invest a lot into renewable energy.

Another fault of PiSheads, as you called them, directly affecting renewables. A few years ago they put an embargo on building wind farms. This year they realised their mistake and lifted the ban but it is too late.

They are incompetent rightards, that`s all.
pawian 195 | 19,915
11 Aug 2022 #18
embargo on RuSSist coal in early April

4 months have passed.
And what?
And nothing.
PiSheads are still debating where to find some coal. Fekk them and their incompetence.

However, it will be a good lesson for all PiS voters not to trust rightard populists who are only able to give away billions in benefits and nothing else.
Miloslaw 14 | 4,719
11 Aug 2022 #19
rightard populists

You have a very narrow minded point of view.
What may be true in Poland does not necessarily translate well to other countries.
Be more open minded about right wing politics.
I am not even sure that I would label PIS as purely right wing.
There is a communistic totalitarian element to them too.
Bobko 11 | 1,120
12 Aug 2022 #20
@pawian

When I said that it's not as simple as PiShead incompetence, I meant factors such as:

1) Polish coal is of inferior quality, and located at much greater depths than Russian coal (read: more expensive to extract)

2) PiS is trying to reorient coal freight to Poland's river systems, as rail is already overloaded and necessary for transporting other commodities. The problem is the Natura 2000 EU regulations which do not allow for the upgrading of transport infrastructure on the Oder and Vistula. Add to this historically low river levels, which means barges have to be loaded lightly. Otherwise, transport by river barge is cheaper and many times more environmentally friendly than auto or rail transport.

3) Polish miners have already stated that it's not possible to grow production to a level necessary to cover lost Russian imports.

4) Importing coal from Colombia or South Africa, when logistics are included, results in a price to the consumer that is even higher than the 2,500 zlotys mentioned above (I read about 3,000).

P.S. - @Pawian - do you use coal or gas to heat?
pawian 195 | 19,915
12 Aug 2022 #21
Be more open minded about right wing politics.

I try and even appreciate rightard views on economy but I reject their sick hypocrisy in social matters. :):)

There is a communistic totalitarian element to them too.

Yes.

even higher than the 2,500 zlotys mentioned above (I read about 3,000).

That is why we need to invest in renewables.

coal or gas

Wood. I have a reliable supplier of cheap stuff.
Bobko 11 | 1,120
12 Aug 2022 #22
That is why we need to invest in renewables.

This is why it was surprising to me when the Polish ministry of climate and environment recently approved a one-off payment of 630 euros for households that use coal as a primary source of heating. It's almost as if they are encouraging people to stay on the coal needle. In a market economy, extremely high prices for coal should encourage a move towards renewables. It is true that people will suffer in the short term, but the pain is necessary for hard decisions to be made.

To me, it's not clear who is being protected - Polish miners, or Polish consumers.

Edit: Regarding wood... Do you realize that it produces 30%+ more CO2 emissions than coal? For a person that seems to care about the environment, it's surprising to hear you use the dirtiest possible fuel.
pawian 195 | 19,915
12 Aug 2022 #23
To me, it's not clear who is being protected

Actually, nobody coz the subsidies for coal users will only fuel the inflation further.
That is PiS in action - like a drunk person, trying to find a way out but constantly banging their heads against the door frame.

CO2 emissions

Which is absorbed quickly by hundreds of trees and bushes in my garden and orchard. Ha! We even have an oxytree. Small but it is growing fast. :):):)

Besides, it seems you don`t realise that by burning wood I don`t increase the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere like by burning coal.

Do you know why??? :):):)

the dirtiest possible fuel.

It is obvious you know close to nothing about it. Read more about the dirtiest fuels. Certainly wood isn`t one. Actually, it is one of the safest of all solid fuels available. :):):)
Bobko 11 | 1,120
12 Aug 2022 #24
It is obvious you know close to nothing about it.

Please enlighten me. I'm always willing to learn. You are, after all, a teacher - no?

Edit: Your earlier point has merit. While the tree grows it sequesters carbon, but then... you release it again? Your point about your garden is meaningless. If you did not own this land, somebody else would. They might have burned gas instead of coal or wood. Because you are blessed with large land holdings, doesn't release you from responsibility.
pawian 195 | 19,915
12 Aug 2022 #25
Please enlighten me

With pleasure. :):)
CO2 from coal and wood is the same chemical compound but it doesn`t affect the environment in the same way.

A/ coal comes from beneath the ground where it has been trapped for millions of years, and by burning this fossil fuel we are increasing the amount of carbon in the atmosphere.

B/ CO2 from biomass like wood comes from the atmosphere and returns to it - it has been collected from it by trees and other plants over the last years or even decades - its return to the atmosphere does not increase the total amount of carbon.

So, you see, there is good and bad CO2. Burning wood keeps the balance in the atmosphere while burning coal doesn`t. :):)
Bobko 11 | 1,120
12 Aug 2022 #26
@pawian
So you do not argue that burning wood produces more CO2 than burning coal?

As mentioned in my edit above, I concede to your point about ancient carbon vs recent carbon.
pawian 195 | 19,915
12 Aug 2022 #27
So you do not argue that burning wood produces more CO2 than burning coal?

No, coz it is a fact and I never contend with facts. But as I said, CO2 from wood is certainly better than the one from coal coz it keeps perfect emission balance. :):)
Bobko 11 | 1,120
12 Aug 2022 #28
@pawian

Left outside the discussion, is that if everyone adopted your methods - soon there would be no forests at all. I'm assuming you're not burning trees from your land, but from someone else's - otherwise your orchard would look like the Gobi Desert.

I'm an economic historian by training. A classic explanation of why the industrial revolution happened in Britain first, is that they burned all their trees (believe it or not, at one point Britain was covered in forests), and consequently were forced to make an early transition to coal (with which they were blessed). The higher caloric output of coal, it's ready availability, and the fact that Britain was the first to develop its deposits at a truly industrial scale (again, because they were forced) fueled the Industrial Revolution - spurring developments in metallurgy, scaling of manufacturing, and provision of heat. However, Britain lost its forests forever.

In brief - your approach is absolutely not sustainable.
pawian 195 | 19,915
12 Aug 2022 #29
soon there would be no forests at all.

What do you know about sustainable wood production??? The principle is to cut and plant at the same time.

but from someone else's

Yes, a person who makes a living by selling wood from his forest which his father and grandpa planted and today he is planting new trees to allow his kids and grandkids to continue the business.

if everyone adopted your methods

Decide if you want to talk about everyone or me. :):):)

not sustainable.

Yes, it is. :):)
pawian 195 | 19,915
12 Aug 2022 #30
Britain lost its forests forever.

Not only Britain. Also the Middle Earth lost some of its forests when Orcs burned them for their metallurgy.


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