March 23, 2018

BERLIN, 23 March 2018 – Coal plant closure momentum is growing in Europe this month, with four German plants retiring or announcing retirement in March, and Ireland committing to a total coal phase out by 2025.

The Duisburg-Hochfeld plant has closed last week (1), and the last coal unit at the Werdohl-Elverlingsen plant will follow suit on 31 March (2). Two weeks ago, car manufacturer Volkswagen announced it will replace its two coal plants in Wolfsburg by combined cycle gas turbines (3). This means that 37 coal plants have retired or announced retirement since January 2016.

While there are 282 plants across Europe left to go, coal plant retirements since January 2016 have already resulted in significant health and economic benefits. In 2015 alone, these now retired plants were responsible for 920 premature deaths, 460 cases of chronic bronchitis in adults, 21.280 asthma attacks in children. This added up to a total health bill of €2.5 billion (4).

“Europe Beyond Coal groups have been working tirelessly to secure closures of damaging coal plants, and these German plant retirements show that we are making welcome progress in Europe towards healthy, modern energy systems,” said Kathrin Gutmann, Campaign Director at Europe Beyond Coal.

“Europe will need to see a lot more coal plant closures to protect its citizens’ health and to respect the UN Climate Agreement struck in Paris. This is why it is critical that leaders – especially the new German government – urgently accelerate the phase out of coal and support communities navigating the transition to a better future.”

Along with the four confirmed closures in Germany this month, two more are also looming. German energy company Steag filed for retirement of two units at its old Lünen plant (5) in March, highlighting the three-year trend noted in the latest Boom and Bust report (6) of coal declining at a record pace globally. At this rate, by 2022 yearly retirements worldwide will exceed new capacity additions and the global coal fleet will begin to shrink. This has been a reality for Europe since 2011.

Ten* European countries are already coal-free, and with Ireland’s commitment, an additional ten European countries have now committed to a coal phase-out by 2030 or earlier (7). While there are still new coal plants planned or under construction – mostly in Poland, the Western Balkans, and Turkey – with Europe as a whole on a clear path beyond coal, these projects face an uphill battle.

Contacts:

Greg McNevin, Communications Director, Europe Beyond Coal (English)

greg@beyond-coal.eu, +90 546 873 4512

Kathrin Gutmann, Campaign Director, Europe Beyond Coal (German, English)

kathrin@beyond-coal.eu, + 49 (0) 1577 836 3036

 

About:

Europe Beyond Coal is an alliance of civil society groups working to catalyse the closures of coal mines and power plants, prevent the building of any new coal projects and hasten the just transition to clean, renewable energy and energy efficiency. Our groups are devoting their time, energy and resources to this independent campaign to make Europe coal free by 2030 or sooner. www.beyond-coal.eu

 

Notes:

1) WAZ, 27.1.2018: “Heizkraftwerk Hochfeld schaltet im März die Öfen aus

2) Press release by Mark-E, 2.3.2018: “31. März 2018: Mark-E steigt aus Kohleverstromung aus – letzter Steinkohle-Block in Werdohl-Elverlingsen wird stillgelegt

3) Press release by Volkswagen AG, 8.3.2018: “Volkswagen Group realigns energy supplies: company power stations to change over from coal to gas

4) See our ‘Dark Cloud 2015 update’ and other data here: https://beyond-coal.eu/data/  

5) Press release by STEAG, 2.3.2018: “STEAG meldet Kraftwerk Lünen zur endgültigen Stilllegung an

6) Boom and Bust 2018: Tracking the Global Coal Plant Pipeline

7) The ten European countries committed to phasing out coal are: Austria, Denmark, Finland, France, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Sweden and the United Kingdom. The coal power-free countries are: Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Norway and Switzerland. More info in our ‘Overview of national coal phase-out announcements in Europe’.

*Correction: Ten European countries – not seven as originally noted – are coal free.

Profiles of the closing German plants:

 

Plant Closure Number 34
Date of Closure 15 March 2018
Date of announcement of closure 9 January 2018
Age 53 years
Capacity & type of coal Unit I: 145 MW, hard coal (unit II B: 102 MW, closed 2012)
Owner Duisburger Versorgungs- und Verkehrsgesellschaft mbH (DVV)
Number of remaining plants owned 0
CO2 emissions in 2016 458,139 t
SOX emissions in 2015 262 t
Premature deaths in 2015 8 (modelled)
Cases of chronic bronchitis in adults in 2015 4 (modelled)
Cases of asthma attacks in children in 2015 171 (modelled)
Health costs in 2015 Up to € 21,473,600.26

 

Plant Closure Number 35
Date of Closure 31 March 2018
Date of announcement of closure 2 March 2018
Age 35 years
Capacity & type of coal Unit E4: 330 MW, hard coal (unit E3: 200 MW, closed 2014)
Owner ENERVIE
Number of remaining plants owned 0
CO2 emissions in 2016 379,319 t
SOX emissions in 2015 221 t
Premature deaths in 2015 10 (modelled)
Cases of chronic bronchitis in adults in 2015 4 (modelled)
Cases of asthma attacks in children in 2015 189 (modelled)
Health costs in 2015 Up to € 26,291,500.93

 

Plant Closure Number 36 + 37
Date of Closure 2022
Date of announcement of closure 8 March 2018
Age 18 years + 32 years
Capacity & type of coal 446 MW, hard coal
Owner Volkswagen AG
Number of remaining plants owned 0
CO2 emissions in 2016 2,555,177 t
SOX emissions in 2015 1,457 t
Premature deaths in 2015 48 (modelled)
Cases of chronic bronchitis in adults in 2015 23 (modelled)
Cases of asthma attacks in children in 2015 1,018 (modelled)
Health costs in 2015 Up to € 131,877,517.14

For emissions and health impact data, see the Europe Beyond Coal Database, which can be downloaded here.