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The Warsaw Voice » Business » December 19, 2013
Central Europe Energy Partners
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Talking Coal
December 19, 2013   
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An event known as the European Coal Days was held at the European Parliament for the fourth time Nov. 12-14. The aim was to bring to the attention of policy makers how clean coal technologies offer an immediate step towards a low-emissions economy.

Organized by the European Association for Coal and Lignite (Euracoal) and the Central Europe Energy Partners (CEEP), the three-day event saw the coal industry issue a call for action in a statement drawn up in cooperation with the Polish Ministry of the Economy and known as the Warsaw Communiqué.

The event, hosted by MEPs Christian Ehler (EPP, Germany) and Bogdan Marcinkiewicz (EPP, Poland), coincided with COP 19, the United Nations (UNFCCC) climate conference in Warsaw.

In a world where 1.3 billion people have no access to electricity and where China’s growth in coal consumption last year, at 130 million tons, matched the total annual output from the European coal industry, there can be no getting away from the need for a global solution to climate problems, according to a joint statement by Euracoal and CEEP, which is an association of energy and fuel sector companies from Poland, the Czech Republic, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Hungary.

The European Union acting alone can make little difference to the global picture, the statement says. Being abundant and affordable, coal will be used for decades to come to meet modern society’s legitimate demand for energy. Adopting cleaner, more efficient and more flexible coal technologies is not an option—it is an imperative.

At a dinner debate hosted by the European Energy Forum and chaired by MEP Jerzy Buzek (EPP, Poland), Poland’s Deputy Prime Minister and Economy Minister Janusz Piechociñski briefed participants on his country’s position on coal. With about 88 percent of Poland’s electricity coming from coal, the country is not about to turn its back on its vast indigenous coal and lignite resources, Piechociñski said. However, he added that Poland will take steps to improve the way coal is used and develop alternatives. Investment in new coal-fired power plants is planned; renewable energy will be promoted; and nuclear power remains desirable in a country that relies on Russia for almost 80 percent of its natural gas imports.

On average, 27 percent of EU electricity production comes from coal. In fact, it is only coal that provides any real competition to natural gas in the electricity market, according to Euracoal and CEEP.

The Warsaw Communiqué calls for the immediate use of high-efficiency, low-emissions coal combustion technologies, wherever this is economically and technically feasible at both existing and new power plants, as an immediate step in lowering greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired power plants and as a necessary milestone towards the deployment of carbon capture utilization and storage technologies (CCS), once these are put to commercial use.

According to Euracoal and CEEP, governments should set an ambitious pathway to move the global average efficiency of coal-fired power generation plants to current state-of-the-art levels and to support R&D efforts to further improve the efficiency of coal combustion technologies.

International financial institutions, such as the European Investment Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, should support developing countries and countries in Central and Eastern Europe in accessing clean coal Best Available Technologies (BAT), including high-efficiency, low-emissions coal combustion technologies, according to Euracoal and CEEP.

With a clear, long-term framework and with a government commitment to a CCS infrastructure, the coal industry can get on with its job of investing for the future. This is demonstrated today with new investment in modern coal-fired power plants around Europe—for example, in Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Slovenia and Turkey—but the investment is patchy and insufficient. To quickly reduce emissions, the EU’s 230 GW of coal-fired power plants require faster renewal and modernization—three times faster than today, according to Euracoal and CEEP. A long-term commitment to clean coal would allow industry to raise finance and deliver tangible benefits, including a more than 30 percent reduction in CO2 emissions from the oldest plants.

The Warsaw Communiqué was presented by the World Coal Association to world leaders at the COP 19 conference as what was described as a practical and pragmatic approach that balances economic development and energy security with environmental objectives.

The Warsaw Communiqué (excerpt)

Recognizing international consensus on the need to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions, in conformity with the objectives of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change,
Recognizing the need to address the problem of energy poverty, which still affects 1.3 billion who have no access to electricity and three billion who rely on wood and dung for cooking and heating their households, as reaffirmed during the United Nations Sustainable Development Conference and in the document The Future We Want,
Recalling that the International Energy Agency has estimated that half of the on-grid electricity needed to provide “sustainable energy access for all” will come from coal,
Recalling that hard coal and brown coal play a major role in delivering electricity and energy across the globe, supplying over 40% of global electricity generation and almost 30% of global primary energy consumption, coal is a fundamental ingredient for the creation of steel and concrete, has been the fastest growing energy fuel in the first decade of the 21st century and has been a critical enabler in economic development and poverty alleviation globally,
We note that while Parties to the UNFCCC have not been able to agree on an international legally binding agreement setting out a pathway for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from both developed and developing countries, existing international environmental agreements refer to the use of best available technologies for minimizing the environmental footprint of various industrial and power generation processes, taking into account national circumstances and the economic and technical feasibility, and affordability of those technologies,
We therefore bring to the attention of policy-makers the fact that high-efficiency low-emissions coal combustion technologies are commercially available and, if deployed, can reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the entire power sector by around 20% (equivalent to the total annual CO2 emissions of India)—a low-hanging fruit in global GHG mitigation which should be given more attention in the current context of global economic slowdown,
We also underline the potential of other innovative coal technologies, such as coal gasification, which can further enhance the role of coal in the low-emissions economy.

New CEEP Member
Fertilizer producer Azoty has become the 21st member of Central Europe Energy Partners (CEEP), an association of energy and fuel sector companies from Poland, the Czech Republic, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Hungary.
The Azoty group—Grupa Azoty S.A.—was established as a result of merging Poland’s four largest chemical plants, Tarnów, Police, Pu³awy, and Kêdzierzyn-Ko¼le.
Azoty produces a range of chemical products such as OXO alcohols, caprolactam, modified technical plastics, and melamine. The group is the second largest producer of fertilizers in Europe, and also provides state-of-the-art laboratory services.

Azoty products are sold in more than 50 countries. The group has its own logistics facilities and a research and development center. As of the end of June 2013, Azoty had more than 13,200 employees.

Azoty is a large consumer of energy, in particular gas, as a raw material as well as for heating purposes. The price of energy is an important factor that impacts the company’s competitiveness, especially on foreign markets. The company plans to become actively involved in the ongoing debate in the EU on CO2 and NOx emissions, using opportunities developed by CEEP.

Azoty has been listed on the Warsaw Stock Exchange since June 30, 2008, and on Feb. 19, 2013 it became a part of the MSCI Emerging Markets index. Azoty also features on several other Warsaw Stock Exchange indices, such as the WIG-CHEMIA, WIG30, WIG, WIG-PL, and the Respect Index.

Central Europe Energy Partners (CEEP) is an association formed by a group of Polish companies from the energy and fuel sectors that aims to facilitate integration in the energy sector in Central Europe and strengthen the position of this sector in the European Union. The association was established on May 4, 2010 in Brussels. This is the first industry-specific organization from Central Europe that has a permanent representation to the European Union. At present, CEEP has 20 members—companies and research institutions from the Czech Republic, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Hungary.

In June 2014, Central Europe Energy Partners will be celebrated its fourth birthday. It has worked hard over the past years. It has achieved a lot, but more still needs to be done. Being the first regional association representing the Central European energy sector and its companies (gas – including shale gas, coal, oil, renewables, nuclear, grids, etc.), its overriding goal is to support the integration of Central Europe’s energy sector within the framework of a common EU energy and security policy.

CEEP is active in the International Energy Agency. It also works closely with the European Centre for Energy and Resources Security in London. It is taking part in consultations with EU bodies, including legislative initiatives within the Union.

CEEP organizes many conferences and events, for example, the annual “29+1” Conference, which aims to give CEEP members an opportunity for a direct, unofficial dialogue with the EU’s Commissioner for Energy, Günther Oettinger.
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