The European Coal Plant Countdown counts all coal plants in the EU, the UK, Turkey, and the Western Balkan countries that have retired or announced to do so by latest 2030 since January 2016. In addition, it lists all active new coal projects. It works with the category of ‘plants’ or ‘projects’ (not on the basis of units or gigawatts) and seeks to have a certain plant-specific proof of retirement or cancellation before counting a plant.*
The Coal Exit Timeline logs all important events since 2016 that brought us closer to a coal-free Europe by 2030. Most of these events result in a change of countdown, such as the announcement of a plant closure or the cancellation of a new coal project. But we also keep track of announcements of intent, e.g. by governments, to phase out coal in their country by a certain year, or other decisive steps towards the closure or cancellation of plants, such as lost court cases.
The Bulgarian government has announced that the country will phase out coal in 2038 or 2040, n its National Resilience and Recovery Plan, submitted to the European Commission today. It makes Bulgaria the twentieth European country to announce a coal exit date, but like Germany (2038) and Montenegro (2035), it is an inadequate one that […]
The Romanian government has committed the country to phasing-out hard coal and lignite power production by 2032 in its National Resilience and Recovery Plan endorsed yesterday by European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen. This plan sees coal capacity cut by more than three quarters by 2025.
China’s commitment to ending support for new coal overseas, and Turkey’s announcement at the United Nations General Assembly yesterday that it intends to ratify the UN Paris climate agreement are a critical blow for coal power in Europe.
Germany’s inadequate 2038 coal exit plan has left its regions and companies taking action into their own hands, with the city of Hannover today becoming the latest to announce a faster-than-planned coal exit.
North Macedonia Spain and Montenegro committed to exit coal by 2027, 2030, and 2035 respectively as they joined the Powering Past Coal Alliance. Croatia also joined, but as a non-declaration member while the country’s government decides on a coal phase out date.
*How the German coal exit translates to our countdown
Though the end date for coal is foreseen in 2038 only, the law does retire approximately 23 GW prior to 2030. For lignite plants, a plant-specific phaseout pathway exists, but for hard coal, the law does not explicitly state which plants shall retire when, as the closure pathway shall be defined through auctions first. In order to reflect that, according to the law, all but 8 GW of German hard coal capacity will retire by 2030, we made assumptions on which hard coal plants would retire before 2030 to align the hard coal closure path with our counter’s methodology, which only registers retirements when the exact coal plant is known.
In December 2020, a set of three hard coal plants that, according to our evaluation, were implicitly intended to retire after 2030 (mostly because of their young age), unexpectedly won in the first auction that determines hard coal retirements. As a result, we added it to the list of plants that are to retire by 2030 at the latest. At the same time, we did not assume that other plants are now set to retire later, i.e. after 2030, just to fulfill the intended phase-out pathway of the German law. Instead, the list of plants set to retire by 2030 grew by three. This leads to a new setup with less than the 8 GW of hard coal capacity that are described in the law will be left after 2030. In short: we anticipate a quicker phase-out of German hard coal capacity.
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