Europe Beyond Coal

Coal Exit Tracker

One of the most comprehensive databases of Europe’s coal plants available. Explore the worst emitting plants, the heaviest health impacts, the countries committing to 2030 phase outs, and more.  

 

Which countries are producing the most coal power?

The aggregated power mix of all EU member states + UK shows the slow pace of the transition away from coal. Renewable energy sources are gaining ground, which have begun replacing coal. The share of coal has shrunk, but is not yet doing so quickly enough en route to a healthy, sustainable renewables-based power system.

Austria

The Austrian electricity system is built around hydro power from reservoirs. In combination with non-hydro renewables and interconnection to neighbouring countries, the power sector could wean itself off coal in 2020. Austria is now the second country that became coal free since 2016.

Belgium

Belgium has gradually retired its coal plants and was the first country in Europe to abandon this energy source in the power sector.

Bulgaria

A significant share of the Bulgarian electricity demand has long been supplied with hard coal and lignite. While hard coal has been phased-out in the last decade, the overall generation of coal slightly increased. Deployment of renewable energy has barely begun.

Croatia

There is only one coal power plant in Croatia (Plomin). One of its two units is deactivated, the other unit (200 MW) contributes nearly 20% of the sector’s generation. The largest share of energy is hydropower. Sustainable, non-hydro renewables could work well to replace coal powered generation.

Czech Republic

The Czech power system relies heavily on lignite and nuclear power, renewable energy deployment has barely begun.

Cyprus

Cyprus uses fuel oil, some gas, and a few renewable energy sources. There is no coal power station on the island.

Denmark

Over the last decade the use of coal in the Danish electricity system has significantly dropped. Renewable energy has replaced a lot of fossil fuels. A complete coal phase-out is expected before 2030.

Estonia

The Estonian power system is almost entirely powered by oil shale. Its CO2 intensity is even higher than that of lignite.

Finland

Finland deploys a large share of different generation technologies. Coal has shrunk to a small share only. A coal phase-out by 2029 has been legislated.

France

France is well known for its nuclear power system. The remaining coal power stations are expected to be phased-out by 2022.

Germany

Despite the growth of renewable energy, the decline of coal has only started recently. For years, Germany has been the single largest producer of coal-based electricity in the EU. This has changed only in 2020, when Poland overtook Germany. Phasing out hard coal and lignite in Germany is crucial to achieving a coal-free Europe by 2030.

Greece

Greece has traditionally relied on lignite as its dominant electricity source. In recent years generation from this source has dropped significantly. Greece has announced to phase out coal by 2028 and its Public Power Corporation is effectively closing the country’s old lignite plants by 2023.

Hungary

There is only one lignite power station left in Hungary, Matra (880 MW). In recent years coal’s contribution to Hungary’s electricity generation has fallen below 20%. Hungary has announced to phase out coal by 2030.

Ireland

While traditionally the Irish power system is based on gas, hard coal and peat (shown as lignite in the chart, its properties are very similar), the transition to renewable energy sources has started, especially by tapping Ireland’s huge wind energy potential. Moneypoint power station (915 MW), Ireland’s last hard coal power plant, is expected to retire in 2025.

Italy

The Italian power system hosts significant shares of renewable energy, its main fossil fuel is natural gas. Coal has dropped significantly over the last few years. The Italian government wants to phase out coal power by 2025, but so far is headed for an unsustainable coal-to-gas switch.

Latvia

Latvia does not use coal in the power sector.

Lithuania

The power sector in Lithuania used to be dominated by nuclear power. However, the country’s two nuclear power stations were retired in 2004 and 2009 respectively. At the moment most electricity is imported.

Luxemburg

Luxemburg does not use coal in the power sector. The small country is well connected with its neighbours and relies on electricity imports. Domestic generation, especially from gas, was reduced significantly in recent years.

Malta

Malta does not use coal in its power sector.

Netherland

The Dutch power system is based on gas and to a lesser extent on hard coal. In recent years, new hard coal power stations were built in Rotterdam, Amsterdam and Eemshaven, but coal generation still dropped in the subsequent years due to the retirement of older coal plants. A coal phase-out was legislated will be completed by the end of 2029.

Poland

In Poland coal dominates: the country with the highest coal share in its electricity mix of all EU member states, and, since 2020, the first also in absolute numbers (before Germany). Renewable energy growth is slow.

Portugal

There are significant amounts of hydro and non-hydro renewables in Portugal’s power system. Hard coal power is delivered by two power stations, Pego (630 MW) and Sines (1,200 MW). They used to account for about a quarter of Portugal’s electricity generation, but have hardly generated any electricity in their last summer in operation. The power plants will retire in 2021.

Romania

Lignite still has a high share in Romania’s power mix. Hard coal plants are hardly running.

Slovakia

The backbone of Slovakia’s electricity system is nuclear. The relatively small share of hard coal is mainly generated by the Vojany power station in Slovakia’s east, while lignite power mainly comes from the Novaky power station in the Upper Nitra region. Slovakia’s president has announced to phase out coal power by 2023 while a government strategy talks about 2030.

Slovenia

Slovenia generates its electricity from hydro, nuclear, and lignite sources. There are two lignite power stations, Te-Tol and the rather new Sostanj, for which there are no closure plans yet.

Spain

The Spanish electricity mix contains different fuel types. The generation of coal has long been on a similar level as nuclear, gas, hydro (2017 was an exception) and wind power. But 2019 marked a steep decline and by June 2020 half of the 10GW coal fleet stopped operating. The operators of the remaining coal plants are planning to close them by 2025 the latest.

Sweden

The Swedish power system is built upon hydro and nuclear power. The last coal plant stopped burning coal in 2020, making Sweden the third country in Europe to have become coal-free since 2016.

United Kingdom

The United Kingdom has significantly reduced the share of coal in its electricity mix, seeing a massive drop over the last years. Power plants have closed or reduced output, with reductions mainly offset by renewable energy and gas. In 2015, the United Kingdom was the first country to announce a national coal phase-out by 2025, which it has brought forward to 2024 since.

Health impacts caused by coal power plants in Europe (2016, modelled)
Health impacts caused by coal companies in Europe (2016, modelled)
Coal power is a significant source of the EU’s greenhouse gas emissions
Development of coal capacity in Europe - by region
Development of coal capacity in Europe - by country
Development of coal capacity in Europe - by company
Development of the electricity mix in Austria
Development of the electricity mix in Belgium
Development of the electricity mix in Bulgaria
Development of the electricity mix in Croatia
Development of the electricity mix in the Czech Republic
Development of the electricity mix in Cyprus
Development of the electricity mix in Denmark
Development of the electricity mix in Estonia
Development of the electricity mix in Finland
Development of the electricity mix in France
Development of the electricity mix in Germany
Development of the electricity mix in Greece
Development of the electricity mix in Hungary
Development of the electricity mix in Ireland
Development of the electricity mix in Italy
Development of the electricity mix in Latvia
Development of the electricity mix in Lithuania
Development of the electricity mix in Luxemburg
Development of the electricity mix in Malta
Development of the electricity mix in Netherland
Development of the electricity mix in Poland
Development of the electricity mix in Portugal
Development of the electricity mix in Romania
Development of the electricity mix in Slovakia
Development of the electricity mix in Slovenia
Development of the electricity mix in Spain
Development of the electricity mix in Sweden
Development of the electricity mix in the United Kingdom
Development of the electricity mix
CO2 emissions from coal power plants in the EU+UK by company (2019)
New coal projects in Europe split by region
New coal projects in Europe split by planning status
Capacity covered by national coal phase-out commitments and announced to retire by 2030 in Europe

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    Sources

    Data sources and methodology

    Plant parameters:

    Every data point at unit level has been individually researched and sourced. Types of sources include official plant lists of government bodies, permits, company websites, company reports, news articles, and tenders. In a few cases utilities or authorities were called directly or on-site visits were undertaken.

    New coal project data comes from the Global Coal Plant Tracker.

    Emissions data (EU only):

    CO2 emissions:

    EU Emissions Trading System data from the European Union Transaction Log (EUTL)

    Greenhouse gas emissions (by sector):

    National emissions reported to the UNFCCC and to the EU Greenhouse Gas Monitoring Mechanism, data provided by European Environmental Agency; coal emissions from power sector are highlighted as a subset of the energy sector, subset is sourced from EU Emissions Trading System data.

    Pollutants:

    EU and Serbia: Reported data on large combustion plants covered by Directive 2001/80/EC ( Large Combustion Plants Directive – LCPD ) and European Pollutant Release and Transfer Register (E-PRTR)

    Western Balkans: Data for Western Balkan plants (except Serbia) was gathered manually from different sources. For more information contact us.

    Atmospheric Modelling:

    Pollutant concentrations are modelled with the European Commission approved Open Source EMEP/MSC-W chemical transport model. We rely on input data provided by EMEP/MSC-W, ECMWF and the Norwegian Meteorological Institute.

    Health data and associated economic impacts:

    The methodology for modelling the health impacts and associated costs of coal pollution is spelled out in the report “Last Gasp: The coal companies making Europe sick”. Data on health impacts in the EU comes from that same report. Health impact data for the Western Balkan countries is taken from “Chronic coal pollution: EU action on the Western Balkans will improve health and economies across Europe”.

    Power generation:

    Data on power generated from coal and other sources is kindly being provided by the climate think-tank “Ember”.

    Download European Coal Plant Database

    This is the raw data on which these tools have been built. It is the most comprehensive, up-to-date set of data on the entire European coal power plant fleet, covering all EU-28, Western Balkans, and Turkey. All information comes from a combination of official sources and national campaign groups and is provided under an open source “share alike” license. The datatool is updated on a continual basis.

    Download Database

    Disclaimer

    Europe Beyond Coal does its best to deliver a high quality of the Database and to verify that the data contained therein have been selected on the basis of sound judgement. It is based on all relevant data known of by the collaborators of Europe Beyond Coal, but may not be exhaustive, and there may exist further or updated information that they were not aware of. Europe Beyond Coal makes no warranties, and shall not be liable for any damage that may result from errors or omissions in the Database.

    Data sources

    The data displayed here is based on information collected by the Europe Beyond Coal campaign. We regularly publish an updated version of our data. Please check it out to find out more in the coal plant database section.

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