Most European countries have had lower power generation from coal this year compared to the previous year, but there are clearly some countries where the change is already indicating that the end is near for coal plants. The graph above shows the top 10 countries in Europe where coal generation has declined the most in absolute terms. From this ranking 6 countries – Germany, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Netherlands and Romania – have reduced their coal generation by more than 1/3.
Top 3 countries where coal power generation has shrunk the most this year by both criteria are:
Coal power plants are closing down in Spain, Portugal and Greece – way ahead of schedule
- Portugal (-97%)
- Spain (-58%)
- Greece (-49%)
Last week, one of the leading national newspapers in Spain, El País, announced that 7 out of 15 of the remaining coal plants in the country would shut down on 30 June 2020
. Overnight, the Spanish coal generation capacity dropped from 9 GW to 4.5 GW and four more plants are applying for closure permit
. This comes hardly as a surprise to many, as economics of coal plants have deteriorated over the past years. This is because there are cheaper alternatives to generate electricity, and CO2 prices in Europe have sky-rocketed during the last years. Our Energy Transition Lab shows that coal plants already had low running hours before the announcement. Spain is the only country of the three where the government did not have a fixed deadline for coal.