IIDMA and Re:Common welcome Endesa’s decision to close two coal-fired power plants as a positive step towards the end of coal in 2025

The International Institute for Law and the Environment (IIDMA) and the Italian organization Re:Common welcome Endesa’s decision to file the request for the closure of two of its coal-fired power plants, and ask that Endesa begins the process to ensure the closure of its remaining three plants by 2025 at the latest. On Wednesday 19 December, Endesa submitted the closure request for the Teruel (Andorra) and Compostilla (León) coal-fired power plants to the Ministry for the Ecological Transition. This is a first step towards the definitive closure of two of the most polluting plants in Spain, with a total capacity of 2,061 MW. Endesa argues that it is impossible to recover the investments needed to adapt these plants to the emission limits set out in the new BREF document for large combustion plants, which sets even stricter limits than the IED (Industrial Emissions Directive). However, the closure must be approved by the Government after a prior assessment by Red Eléctrica Española-REE, which must examine whether the closure affects security of supply.

Nevertheless, the closure is not latest story: Enel, Endesa’s main shareholder, announced it at its 2017 AGM, after spokespersons for IIDMA and Re:Common insisted that a closure schedule for their coal power plants was necessary to meet the Enel group’s goal of being “carbon neutral” by 2050. Likewise, the Un Futuro Sin Carbón platform made similar requests to Endesa in July 2018, demanding the closure of all its coal-fired power plants by 2025 and requesting that they submit the closure requests for Teruel and Compostilla as soon as possible.

Compostilla and Teruel are two of the most polluting plants in Europe. The EBC (Europe Beyond Coal) platform includes them among the so-called Toxic 30, the 30 European plants with the greatest impact on public health, placing Teruel in fifth place in the ranking and Compostilla in 16th place. Following the publication of EBC’s “Last Gasp” report, the platform “Un futuro sin carbón” reiterated on the occasion of COP24 (Climate Summit) the need to close the Endesa plants, the sixth most polluting coal company in Europe.

Although the closure of Teruel and Compostilla is a positive step towards the decarbonisation of the Enel group, it must be remembered that Endesa has already made investments to ensure that the As Pontes and Litoral plants continue to operate beyond 2020, and its plans for the Alcudia plant in Mallorca are not yet known, despite the fact that everything points to the fact that its closure would not pose any problems for the island’s security of supply. This plant currently operates under a European derogation until 2020, at which time it will have to close if it does not adapt to the stricter limits set by European regulations (BREF). According to the draft Climate Change Law of the Balearic Islands, currently in parliamentary procedure, groups I and II of the plant must close in 2020, while it is expected that groups III and IV will operate until 2025. The organisations are asking Endesa to adopt the necessary measures for all its thermalcoal-fired power plants to close by 2025, including those in which investments have been made.

IIDMA calls for Spanish coal-fired power plants to be closed in the future Integrated National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP), the draft of which is expected to be sent to the European Commission before the end of 2018.

“All coal-fired plants must close by 2025 at the latest if we are to meet the objectives of the Paris Agreement. The closure of Teruel and Compostilla is a positive step by Endesa. However, it is necessary for Endesa to continue in this direction and to present as soon as possible a timetable for the closure of all its plants in Spain, which will facilitate a just transition,” says Ana Barreira, director of IIDMA.

“Enel, as leading investor of Endesa, has to walk the talk of decarbonisation and urge Endesa to act soon on Alcudia too, by filing a request for the closure of the old groups 1 and 2. It won’t be credible to ask for more derogation when the regional government is ready to start implementing an ambitious decarbonisation strategy in Baleares and ultimately close down the coal plant” says Antonio Tricarico of Re:Common.

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