23 March 2021

Europe halfway to closing all its coal plants by 2030

LONDON, 23 March 2021 – Just five years on from the historic UN Paris Climate Agreement, Europe is halfway to closing all of its coal power plants by 2030. The all important 162nd coal plant closure announcement was delivered by EDF yesterday, with the company outlining its plan to close its West Burton coal plant in 2022. This means that half of Europe’s coal plants have closed or will close before 2030, the latest possible date that all coal power plants in Europe must shut by to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement.

Coal has been in sharp decline in Europe since 2012 [1]. In contrast, the share of EU power generated by renewable energy sources grew to 40 percent in the first half of 2020 – more than all fossil fuels combined [2]. This must increase significantly if the EU is to hit its 55 percent greenhouse gas emission reduction target . With EU countries making plans to spend their recovery and just transition funds, they have a once in a generation opportunity to lock-in the green energy transition by pouring investment into renewable energy and creating millions of new green jobs.

“We are in the endgame for the coal industry in Europe. After years of unrelenting decline, half of Europe’s coal fleet is history. Governments, energy companies and financial institutions must now plan for a 2030 or earlier coal exit, end all funding flows to coal and fossil gas, and instead, direct their support to sustainable renewables, and the just transition of impacted communities. The coming five years will then see off most remaining plants,” said Kathrin Gutmann, Europe Beyond Coal campaign director

Coal has collapsed at a similar rate in the United States, with 338 fully coal-fired power plants pushed to the exit since January 2010. Indeed, closure rates increased by nine percent even under Donald Trump’s tenure. With the Biden administration now putting climate change at the center of its policy agenda [3], net zero carbon emissions announcements in Japan, South Korea and China [4], and the EU calling for a global exit from coal [5], it is not a matter of if, but when coal will be eradicated, globally, for good.

“Economic and political realities, allied with massive public demand to protect our climate, and clean up our air and water mean that coal and other fossil fuels simply have no future. Fourteen European countries understand this, and have washed their hands of coal. The few that remain have a clear choice: plan a 2030 phase out now, with all the benefits of cheap, clean renewable energy, and EU funds for the transition, or be forced to transition later anyway, but in an unplanned, chaotic way, that is more painful for citizens and workers, damages people’s health, and must be paid for out of national budgets,” said Gutmann.



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



  1. https://beyond-coal.eu/2020/06/24/european-coal-in-structural-decline/
  2. https://ember-climate.org/project/renewables-beat-fossil-fuels/
  3. https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/presidential-actions/2021/01/27/executive-order-on-tackling-the-climate-crisis-at-home-and-abroad/
  4. https://www.carbonbrief.org/daily-brief/south-korea-follows-japan-and-china-in-carbon-neutral-pledge , https://sdg.iisd.org/news/japan-republic-of-korea-pledge-to-go-carbon-neutral-by-2050
  5. https://www.consilium.europa.eu/media/48057/st05263-en21.pdf
  6. In addition to West Burton, four more coal plants have been added to Europe Beyond Coal’s countdown. Veolia Poland announced that it will close its remaining two coal-fired combined heat and power (CHP) plants located in Lodz and its plant in Poznan by 2025-26. The last Danish coal-fired CHP plant, Nordjylland, is also confirmed to close by 2028.
  7. Europe Beyond Coal’s countdown covers all coal plants in the EU, the UK, the Western Balkans and Turkey operational as of 1 January 2016, as well as those planned and constructed thereafter. Coal plants are classified as closed when they close down, when they announce concrete plans to close by 2030, or when a government legislates their coal exit. Plants that are planned to close after 2030 are not counted.



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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