Closure dates for coal-fired plants in Spain must be set out in the National Energy and Climate Plan, IIDMA says.

IIDMA requests that closure dates for Spanish coal plants are specified in the future National Energy and Climate Plan, following the recent declarations of the Secretary of State for Energy, José Domínguez Abascal, who “estimates that at least 9 coal plants will close in June 2020 as the necessary adaptations have not been carried out“. Although this statement of intent is positive, it is not enough to guarantee the effective closure of these plants. Concrete actions must be taken.

Among the plants that will close in June 2020 – as some media have pointed out – are those of Teruel and Compostilla, which have a total capacity of 2,061 MW and are owned by Endesa. However, this information is not new. Enel -main shareholder of Endesa -announced this at its Annual Shareholders’ Meeting in May 2017, after spokespersons from IIDMA intervened and asked about the group’s plans to close its thermal power plants, which is a necessary step to meet the group’s goal of being “carbon neutral” by 2050.

In spite of the above, Endesa has not yet announced that it has requested the Spanish Ministry for Ecological Transition for the necessary permits to shut down these plants, despite this being a requirement for their closure. Likewise, one of the requirements for obtaining this permit is a prior evaluation by Red Eléctrica Española (the Spanish transmission system operator), which must conclude that the closure does not affect security of supply.

Compostilla and Teruel are two of the most polluting plants in Europe. The Europe Beyond Coal platform includes them among the so-called Toxic 30, the 30 European plants with the greatest impacts on public health, placing Teruel in fifth place in the ranking and Compostilla in 16th place.

The Secretary of State for Energy has also stated that “the remaining five (thermal power plants) could close between 2020 and 2025″. However, it’s important to highlight  that Endesa has already made investments to ensure that the As Pontes and Litoral coal plants continue to operate beyond 2020. In addition,its plans for the Alcudia plant in Mallorca are not yet known. EDP has also invested in Soto de Ribera and Aboño, while Viesgo has invested in Los Barrios.

All plants in Europe should shut down between 2020 and 2030 if we want to meet the objectives of the Paris Agreement and avoid the most serious effects of climate change, to which Spain is particularly vulnerable. In this regard, all coal-fired power plants in Spain must close by 2025 at the latest, even if investments have been made in order to comply with the stricter emission limit values established by European legislation. Without setting a specific end date for coal in the national energy and climate plan, there is a risk that these plants will continue to operate beyond this date, which would have very serious impacts on the environment and health. According to IIDMA’s study “A Dark Outlook” published in 2017, there are more than 700 premature deaths per year in Spain related to emissions from coal-fired power plants, and the associated costs range between 880 and 1,667 million euros.

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