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Poland welcomes U.S. natural gas but defends coal power

Staff Writer |
The first shipment of American liquefied natural gas from Louisiana's Cheniere Energy arrived in Poland on Wednesday, a feat hailed as an energy milestone in both Poland and Europe.

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Some U.S. commentators have even suggested that American suppliers could help end Polish dependence on Russia's state oil company, Gazprom, which provides 59 percent of the country's annual natural gas consumption.

Poland's government has said that it does not intend to renew its supply agreement with Gazprom when it lapses in 2022.

Planning to cut ties with its oil-rich neighbor is a challenging geopolitical endeavor, but it is just one part of Poland's much touted plan to become energy independent.

Fully 45 percent of the country's primary energy demand and 80 percent of its total electricity generation is provided by coal, produced chiefly in the Silesia region.

In coal-powered electricity, Poland is second only to South Africa. Natural gas, a comparatively clean technology, supports only a limited portion, some 14 percent, of the country's overall energy demand.

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