Which countries are producing the most coal power?
The aggregated power mix of all EU member states 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.
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 is phasing out its remaining coal plants. The last plant is expected to retire in 2020.
Belgium has gradually retired its coal plants and was the first country in Europe to abandon this energy source in the power sector.
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.
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 sectors generation. The largest share of energy is hydropower. Sustainable, non-hydro renewables could work well to replace coal powered generation.
The Czech power system relies heavily on lignite and nuclear power, renewable energy deployment has barely begun.
Cyprus uses fuel oil, some gas, and a few renewable energy sources. There is no coal power station on the island.
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 by 2030.
The Estonian power system is almost entirely powered by oil shale. Its CO2 intensity is even higher than that of lignite.
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 is well known for its nuclear power system. The remaining coal power stations are expected to be phased-out by 2022.
Despite the growth of renewable energy, the decline of coal has only started recently, and so far it is very slight. Germany is the single largest producer of coal-based electricity in the EU. Phasing out hard coal and lignite in Germany is crucial to achieving a coal-free Europe by 2030.
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.
There are two lignite power stations in Hungary, Oroszlany (250 MW) and Matra (880 MW). In recent years their contribution to Hungary’s electricity generation has fallen below 20%. Hungary has announced to phase out coal by 2030.
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.
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 trend is expected to continue as the Italian government has announced a national phase-out of coal power by 2025.
Latvia does not use coal in the power sector.
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 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 does not use coal in its power sector.
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. The Netherlands wants to increase its share of renewable energy to 37% by 2020. A coal phase-out is expected for the end of 2029, which means also the only recently commissioned coal plants have to close.
In Poland coal dominates: the country with the highest coal share in its electricity mix of all EU member states, and second in absolute numbers (after Germany). Renewable energy growth is slow.
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 account for about a quarter of Portugal’s electricity generation. The power plants are expected to retire by 2023 or earlier.
Lignite still has a high share in Romania’s power mix. Hard coal plants are hardly running.
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 has announced to phase-out coal by 2023.
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.
The Spanish electricity mix contains different fuel types. The generation of coal is on a similar level as nuclear, gas, hydro (2017 was an exception) and wind power. Several of the Spanish coal plants are expected to retire in the next few years as Iberdrola, Naturgy and Endesa have voiced their intention to close their plants.
The Swedish power system is built upon hydro and nuclear power. Only one coal power plant is left, which is expected to be phased-out by 2022.
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.