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Coal is Piling Up in Europe as Utilities Prefer Natural Gas

Stocks at three Dutch ports are 19% higher than this time last year 

Vehicles operate at a coal storage facility at the Port of Rotterdam.

Vehicles operate at a coal storage facility at the Port of Rotterdam.

Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg
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Stockpiles of coal are surging at some of Europe’s largest ports as utilities from Germany to Spain are increasingly favoring cleaner gas in power generation.

Reserves at ports in Rotterdam, Amsterdam and Vlissingen last week rose to their highest levels since July. The uptake after the summer has slowed because of mild weather so far this autumn. Crashing natural gas prices have also made it more attractive for utilities to burn the fuel, just as solar and wind continues to eat into the overall share of fossil fuels.