17 April 2020

Austria’s last coal plant closes, increasing European coal phase-out momentum

BERLIN, 17 April 2020 – Austria has become the second European country to totally eliminate coal from electricity production, with its last coal power plant, Verbund’s Mellach, permanently closing today.

“With Austria going coal free today it becomes clear that the momentum to leave coal behind has not slowed, despite the significant health and economic challenges we’re facing,” said Kathrin Gutmann, campaign director for Europe Beyond Coal. “Austria is ending coal burning, while supporting the uptake of renewable energy and the European Green New Deal. This is a great example of the path to healthier, cleaner, and more resilient societies.”

The closure of Mellach comes after years of successful campaigning by the Austrian NGO Global 2000, which has been advocating for a coal exit and a focus on renewables. The closure means Austria is now the second European country since Belgium in 2016 to end coal use for electricity generation.

Seven more countries are expected to follow suit by 2025 or earlier, including France (2022), Sweden (2022), Slovakia (2023), Portugal (2023), the UK (2024), Ireland (2025) and Italy (2025); and five more by 2030 or earlier, which is the necessary end date for coal generation in Europe for the continent to be in line with the UN Paris climate agreement. This includes Greece (2028), the Netherlands (2029), Finland (2029), Hungary (2030), and Denmark (2030). Discussions are currently underway in the Czech Republic, Spain and North Macedonia over when to exit coal. Germany intends to exit coal by 2038, according to its yet-to-be adopted coal exit law – too late to honour its Paris commitments.

 

Contacts:

Alastair Clewer, Communications Officer, Europe Beyond Coal
alastair@beyond-coal.eu, +49 176 433 07 185

Kathrin Gutmann, Campaign Director, Europe Beyond Coal,
kathrin@beyond-coal.eu, +49 1577 8363 036

 

NOTES

  1. Since 2016, 15 European countries have announced to phase out coal for electricity production, 14 of them by 2030 and only Germany by 2038. Most recently, North Macedonia joined the ranks of the countries where a coal phase out is under discussion.
  2. More details on Europe’s coal phase out can be found in Europe Beyond Coal’s Coal Exit Tracker: https://beyond-coal.eu/coal-exit-tracker/
  3. GLOBAL 2000 sees historic day for climate protection in Austria: https://www.global2000.at/presse/aus-f%C3%BCr-kohleverstromung-global-2000-sieht-historischen-tag-f%C3%BCr-klimaschutz-%C3%B6sterreich

 

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

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