14 January 2021

Portugal to be coal free by year’s end

LISBON, 14 January 2021 – The 1296 MW Sines coal plant in Portugal will be shut at midnight tonight, almost nine years earlier than first planned. The EDP-owned plant is one of only two coal plants in Portugal, with the other, Pego, already scheduled to close in November this year. When it does, it will make Portugal the fourth country in Europe to completely eliminate coal in electricity production since the UN Paris climate agreement was signed – following in the footsteps of Belgium (2016), and Austria and Sweden (2020).

“Sines has represented, on average, 12 percent of the total Portuguese greenhouse gas emissions. Its closure is the most important step for a decarbonised future and a clear consequence of several years of civil society pressure,” said Francisco Ferreira, president of the board of Portuguese environmental NGO, ZERO.

The closure comes just two days after EDP Group’s, EDP Renováveis, announced that the European Investment Bank has agreed to provide the company with EUR 65 million to finance the construction and operation of two onshore wind farms in the districts of Coimbra and Guarda, with a total nominal capacity of 125 MW [1].

“In four years, Portugal has gone from having a rough strategy to exit coal by 2030, to concrete plans to be coal free by year’s end. Sines going offline even earlier than expected underscores the reality that once a country commits to clean energy, the economics of renewables deliver the transition very quickly,” said Kathrin Gutmann, Europe Beyond Coal campaign director. “Countries like Germany, Czech Republic and Poland who have committed to, or are considering coal phase out dates well after the needed 2030 end for coal in Europe should take note: not choosing ambitious phase-outs will leave you playing catch up as they happen anyway.”

 

Contacts:

Kathrin Gutmann, Campaign Director, Europe Beyond Coal (German, English)
[email protected], + 49 (0) 1577 836 3036

Alastair Clewer, Communications Officer, Europe Beyond Coal (English)
[email protected], +49 176 433 07 185

Francisco Ferreira, President of the Board, ZERO – Association for the Sustainability of the Earth System (Portuguesse, English)
[email protected], +351-969078564

 

Notes:

  1. https://www.edpr.com/en/news/2021/01/12/eib-and-bpi-provide-edp-renovaveis-eu112-million-construct-and-operate-two-wind
  2. Sines was initially assumed to close in 2030, in-line with Portugal’s first coal phase-out announcement. However, Prime Minister of Portugal, António Costa, used his 2019 inauguration speech to announce that the country’s coal phase-out would be brought forward to 2023, prompting EDP to announce it would bring forward the closure of Sines even further, to 2021. More information here: https://www.noticiasaominuto.com/economia/1664397/central-de-sines-chegou-a-abastecer-um-terco-da-eletricidade-consumida
  3. Overview of national coal phase out announcements in Europe 

 

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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