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Environmental and Sustainability Assessment of Current and Prospective Status of Coal Mine Methane Production and Use in the European Union

The study provides an analysis of the coalmine methane (CMM) status and prospects (up to 2030) in the EU from the sustainability point of view, i.e. economic, environmental and social implications. The study demonstrates the considerable potential for alternative price and regulatory drivers to encourage coal mine methane project developments. This is clear across the three scenarios considered (i.e., the existing market price scenario, the augmented price scenario, and a scenario that imposes a requirement for methane use/abatement to the extent that is technically feasible) as applied in this analysis to the three subject countries of Germany, Poland and the United Kingdom. The most significant potential impact that CMM industrial development brings is the mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions, which occurs under all three scenarios. The costs of reducing greenhouse gas emissions through policies to promote coal mine methane projects is also very favourable. The use of CMM will also provide some enhanced domestic supply of an energy resource. Although CMM should not be viewed as a critical strategic energy resource to the EU as a whole, as its maximum expected input into the European grid systems of gas and electricity would be small compared to the overall respective market sizes and would have very small impacts on energy prices, the analysis in this study shows that full use of existing and future CMM resources can contribute considerably to the energy mix of the local regions.