Germany remains Russia's largest coal buyer despite sanctions

Germany remains Russia’s largest coal buyer despite sanctions

Despite being banned from importing coal from Russia in mid-2022 due to sanctions, Germany still bought 13 million tons of coal from Russia last year, making Russia the country’s largest coal supplier, according to the German Coal Importers Association (VDKi).

Overall, Germany’s coal imports increased by 8% to a total of 44.4 million tons in 2022.

Although imports from Germany’s other suppliers increased, they did not surpass the amount of coal imported from Russia. The US provided 9.4 million tons of coal, a 32% increase from the previous year, while Colombia became the third-largest supplier with 7.2 million tons, an increase of 210%.

Shipments from South Africa also rose significantly, by 278% year-on-year to 3.9 million tons, and Australia was the fourth-largest coal supplier with 6.3 million tons.

The EU banned coal imports from Russia on August 10, 2022, as part of a Ukraine-related sanctions package announced in April 2022.

In 2021, Russia accounted for around 70% of the EU’s coal imports, with Germany and Poland heavily reliant on the fossil fuel for electricity production.

It appears that most of Russia’s coal was delivered to Germany before or shortly after the embargo came into effect.

Germany has been compelled to increase its use of coal in recent months due to energy shortages and rising power prices resulting from the decrease in gas supplies from Russia following Western sanctions.

This has contradicted Germany’s long-standing commitment to fighting climate change and transitioning away from “dirty” fuels.

To ensure energy security, Berlin ordered the reactivation of idle coal mines in September 2022. Currently, over one-third of Germany’s electricity is generated by coal-fired power plants, and the phase-out of these plants has been postponed until March 2024.

In early February, Alexander Bethe, the head of VDKi, criticised the EU and Germany’s plans to abandon coal in favor of cleaner energy, claiming that these plans are too ambitious.

He stated that the notion that Europe will only require coal for one or two more winters is far from the truth and that it is irresponsible to talk about ending the use of hard coal without first developing reliable alternatives.

1 thought on “Germany remains Russia’s largest coal buyer despite sanctions

  1. Germany are acting like have done since the 2nd world war do not like freedom around the world. By giving money to Russia shows they do not care about others and only care about theirself’s like they have done since the end of 1945.

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