Saturday, 22 April 2017

Eurelectric pledges to end electricity production from coal-fired power plants

Eurelectric, the European association of electricity-producers, announced on 5 April that its members signed a pledge not to build any new coal-fired power plants in Europe after 2020. If implemented, the remarkable plan would put an end to electricity production from coal-fired power plants in Europe in the foreseeable future. Poland and Greece, however, are notable absentees from the commitment.

Eurelectric declared in a press release that its members want to abstain from building new coal-fired facilities after 2020 http://www.eurelectric.org/media/318381/2017-04-05-eurelectric-press-release-on-energy-transition-statement-launch-of-cep-papers-embargo-9-am-542017.pdf This is a remarkable commitment, given that all major European electricity producers are members of the industry body.

However, representatives of two countries, Poland and Greece, did not sign up to the pledge. Poland currently produces around 90 per cent of its electricity from coal https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-06-24/as-europe-drops-coal-poland-embraces-it
Greece is poised to build two new coal fired power plants, which are co-funded by the EU https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/nov/03/greece-set-to-win-175m-from-eu-climate-scheme-to-build-two-coal-plants   

Interestingly, a third country, Germany, pushed hard to stop the announcement, but ultimately decided to join the other 25 EU Member States, according to the British newspaper Guardian https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/apr/05/the-end-of-coal-eu-energy-companies-pledge-no-new-plants-from-2020 The German government is relying on coal to bridge the electricity-supply gap that opened up because of its so called `Energiewende´-policy to transition from nuclear energy to renewables.

Despite this resistance, Eurelectric also gave an indication as to when coal will be finally faced out for electricity production in Europe, stating that `Eurelectric`s members are committed to delivering a carbon neutral power supply in Europe by 2050` http://www.eurelectric.org/media/318380/eurelectric_statement_on_the_energy_transition_2-2017-030-0250-01-e.pdf Although Eurelectric´s pledges are not legally binding, this industry self-commitment is the first of its kind at a pan-European level.

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