14 July 2020

EDP plant closures bring Portugal’s coal phase-out forward two years

LISBON, 14 July 2020 – Portuguese energy company EDP has announced the closure of its Sines coal plant, bringing the shutdown forward by two years to 2021. This means the end of coal generation in Portugal altogether two years earlier than expected.

The move comes after a record coal-free run in the country earlier this year, and marks the second time Portugal’s coal phaseout date has come forward. The country will now exit coal nine years earlier than originally planned, demonstrating the ever-faster decline of coal.

“Portugal had already accelerated its coal phase-coal from 2030 to 2023. The fact that it is being brought forward yet again to 2021 shows just how fast a country can clean up its energy system when it commits to clean energy and climate action,” said Kathrin Gutmann, Europe Beyond Coal Campaign director. “This is a trend we are beginning to see across Europe. Governments that have yet to plan a speedy coal exit are losing precious time to put in place ambitious coal exit plans that reflect market and policy realities. Portugal has become a powerful case on how to bring forward coal closures, cut air pollution, act on the climate crisis, and provide transition support to workers and communities.”

Portugal will be the third EU country to close its coal plants early, after Austria brought forward its phaseout from 2025 to 2020, and Sweden did the same from 2022 to 2020. Portugal’s coal plants have been operating close to zero in 2020, and EDP cited renewable energy growth and the cost burden of coal in its decision to close the Sines plant once its remaining stock of coal is burnt. The company has guaranteed that it will fulfill its commitments to all its workers, helping them justly transition to new jobs in the region.

When Pego and Sines close in 2021, Portugal will join Belgium, Sweden, and Austria in completely eliminating coal in electricity production since the UN Paris Climate Agreement was signed. Four more countries are expected to follow suit and eliminate coal for electricity production by 2025 or earlier, including France (2022),  the UK (2024), Ireland (2025) and Italy (2025); and six 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), Slovakia (2030) and Denmark (2030). Germany intends to exit coal by 2038, according to its recently adopted coal exit law. This is too late to honour its commitments under the UN Paris climate agreement.

 

Contacts:

Greg McNevin, Communications director, Europe Beyond Coal
[email protected], +49 176 433 07 185

Kathrin Gutmann, Campaign director, Europe Beyond Coal,
[email protected], +49 1577 8363 036

 

Notes:

  1. EDP’s announcement covers the closure of its Portuguese coal plant, but it is also considering closing or converting its Spanish plants. The other Portuguese coal plant, Pego, is owned by Engie, Marubeni and Endesa. The Government had said last October that Pego will be closed by 2021. In that same statement, it had said that Sines would be closed by 2023. More information on energy emissions reductions available from Europe Beyond Coal partner ZERO: https://bit.ly/2CyOVTH (in Portuguese)
  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/ and National Coal Phase Out briefing: https://bit.ly/3euaWQP
  3. 13 countries in Europe have yet to declare a coal exit, namely Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Kosovo, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia and Turkey. Discussions are currently underway in the Czech Republic, Spain and North Macedonia over when to exit coal.

 

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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