European utilities have had to step up coal use as natural gas inventories run unusually low for this time of the year due to the continent’s historically chilly late-winter and spring — once again, it’s coal to the rescue.
In 2021, and despite the record-high carbon price in Europe, the use of coal for power generation has jumped by as much as 15%, according to Andy Sommer, head of analysis at Swiss trader Axpo Solutions on Tuesday.
“Gas storage is so low now that Europe cannot afford to run extra power generation with the fuel,” he said.
According to the analysts, natural gas stockpiles are currently some 25 percent below the five-year average — and as a result, utilities are running more and more coal-fired plants for power generation.
Following the harsh winter of 2020-21, Europe was forced to restock its natural gas supplies after the brutal and prolonged chill drained inventories.
And then, with spring turning out to be a no-show –with multidecadal cold-records falling in almost every European nation– the continent took the unusual step of taking additional withdrawals from storage.
“A cold snap in April caused a counter-seasonal net withdrawal of inventory, worsening the storage situation which for several months has been running below seasonal averages,” Wood Mackenzie said in its Q2 LNG short-term trade and price outlook at the end of May.
As a result of the low levels of natural gas, the price of the Dutch TTF gas (the European benchmark) has rallied by over 50 percent so far in 2021, leaving prices at the highest level for late-spring since the 2008 financial crash.
With the ultra-tight gas market, power generation from coal is rising sharply across Europe, despite the record-high EU carbon price, which exceeded US$60.50 (50 euro) per ton in May.
The current power mix in Europe is indicative of the ridiculous and downright dangerous game the European Union is playing in its callous attempt to ‘green’ its grids in order to tackle the fake ‘climate crisis.’
We now live in a perverse reality where failed computer modelling trumps real-world observations, where ‘catastrophic global warming’ makes all the headlines yet behind the scenes entire continents are forced into recommissioning coal-fired plants to keep their citizens alive during season-spanning freezes; and on top of that, ordinary folks have no choice but to pay through the nose for the privilege of heating their own homes due to cruel and absurd carbon taxes.
This, it appears, is the grand plan — and it’s working perfectly: fuel poverty is just around the corner for hundreds of millions of everyday people.
Turning our attention across the pond, coal use for power generation is also on the rise in the United States, where the price rally in natural gas is discouraging gas-fired electricity generation and is set to give coal a boost this summer.
USDA Expects Poor Apple and Pear Crop due to Cold Weather
A severe spring frost in China’s northwest provinces, along with a drop in exportable supplies in Europe and the US due to record cold, has the USDA predicting a smaller crop of apples for the 2020/21 season.
In its annual world production forecast, the USDA announced world apple production is projected to reach 75.9m tonnes this season, representing a 3.6m tonne reduction on last year’s volumes.
China’s production is estimated at 40.5m tonnes (down 1.9m tonnes).
The USDA projects imports to China will drop by 30,000 tonnes, to a total of 70,000 tonnes, which they’re blaming on logistical disruptions stemming from Covid-19.
U.S. apple production is projected to drop more than 360,000 tonnes to 4.5m tonnes, as lower yields are expected in Washington and Michigan due to extreme freezes.
India’s apple production is anticipated to contract slightly to 2.3m tonnes on lower output due to low temperatures and low water supplies during flowering, and hail during fruit‐bearing.
While New Zealand’s apple production is projected to contract by 48,000 tonnes to 543,000 tonnes after hail caused severe damage in the Nelson and Otago regions, cooler summer temperatures impacted fruit size.
Pears are set to suffer a similar fate.
The USDA expects world pear production for 2020/21 to decline 1.2m tonnes to 22.1m tonnes, on the back of weather‐related issues in China, with the nation also predicted to lower trade.
China’s pear production is projected down 1.3m tonnes to 16m tonnes, as output in the main producing region of Hebei Province was reduced following a brutal April frost during fruit development.
Lower supplies are expected to slash Chinese exports by nearly 25 per cent to 470,000 tonnes.
European exports are projected lower, too, to 270,000 tonnes due to hail and heavy rain in the Iberian Peninsula during flower and fruitset, reducing exportable supplies, especially to Brazil.
U.S. pear production is expected to contract some 37,000 tonnes to 608,000 tonnes on the back of lower-bearing acreage and yield–the result of a cold start to the year.
Planted acreage continues to decline in Argentina, reducing pear production to 620,000 tonnes, halting several years of positive growth.
And finally in Russia, production is tipped to drop 43,000 tonnes to 247,000 tonnes, on weather‐related damage.
The COLD TIMES are returning, the mid-latitudes are REFREEZING, in line with the great conjunction, historically low solar activity, cloud-nucleating Cosmic Rays, and a meridional jet stream flow (among other forcings).
Both NOAA and NASA appear to agree, if you read between the lines, with NOAA saying we’re entering a ‘full-blown’ Grand Solar Minimum in the late-2020s, and NASA seeing this upcoming solar cycle (25) as “the weakest of the past 200 years”, with the agency correlating previous solar shutdowns to prolonged periods of global cooling here.
Furthermore, we can’t ignore the slew of new scientific papers stating the immense impact The Beaufort Gyre could have on the Gulf Stream, and therefore the climate overall.
Prepare accordingly— learn the facts, relocate if need be, and grow your own.
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Grand Solar Minimum + Pole Shift