11 September 2020
EPH announces plan to close its Provence coal plant a year after purchasing it
PARIS, 11 September 2020 – Czech utility EPH has announced it will close its 600 MW Provence coal power plant in France at the end of this year. The announcement brings the plant’s closure forward by two years, and comes only a year after the company purchased it, reflecting the accelerated structural decline of coal across Europe.
EPH purchased the plant together with the Emile-Huchet coal power plant from German utility Uniper in a shopping spree that saw coal make up nearly half of its newly added power generating capacity . The early closure announcement follows last week’s bid by Vattenfall, in Germany’s first hard coal closure auction, to also shut down its five year-old Moorburg coal power plant earlier than expected .
“EPH purchased these coal plants at a fire sale and it got burned,” said Kathrin Gutmann, Europe Beyond Coal campaign director. “The EPH and Vattenfall announcements are evidence that they are in panic mode after realising that their decisions to keep coal on life support were serious blunders.”
EPH’s decision to close its Provence plant this year follows a period of ongoing dispute with workers’ unions . The company says it now plans to “extend industrial activity at the site” with a problematic conversion to unsustainable biomass potentially in the offing .
“EPH has shown itself to be an unscrupulous buyer of outdated coal assets which should be closed. But let’s not overlook Uniper’s role in this. Utilities seeking to clean up their portfolios should be closing their coal plants, not offloading them at a cut price,” said Gutmann.
Provence’s closure falls in-line with France’s 2022 coal phase-out legislated through the country’s energy and climate law . EPH’s other French coal plant, 600 MW Emile-Huchet 6, will shut by early 2022. EDF’s Le Havre coal plant will close in spring 2021, while the Chambière combined heat and power plant at Metz stopped using coal in 2019. The Le Moule Caraibe coal plant in French overseas territory is currently being retrofitted to burn biomass as of 2023, leaving Cordemais as the only French coal plant without a retirement date.
Kathrin Gutmann, Campaign Director, Europe Beyond Coal (German, English)
[email protected], + 49 (0) 1577 836 3036
Alastair Clewer, Communications Officer, Europe Beyond Coal
[email protected], +49 176 433 07 185
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