IIDMA asks Naturgy to confirm the closure of all of its coal plants in Spain

IIDMA asks Naturgy, owner of the coal plants La Robla (Castilla y León), Meirama (Galicia) and Narcea (Asturias) to confirm that it has officially submitted their requests for closure and to clarify its plans for for them. This request comes after the information published in certain media confirming that the company plans to communicate the closures of Meirama and Narcea to trade unions, today. In addition, the Mayor of La Robla, Santiago Dorado, confirmed at the end of 2018 to media t that Naturgy had submitted the closure request to the Government last December 20.

If this is the case and the closure requests are confirmed and authorized, the three plants will become part of the group of plants that should shut down in June 2020, at the latest, along with Lada and Velilla (Iberdrola) or Teruel and Compostilla (Endesa). The authorizations for closure, according to published information, are subject to the presentation of a Transition Plan for the plants, which would ensure a just transition for the workers. Likewise, another requirement for obtaining these permits would be a prior evaluation by Red Eléctrica Española (REE), the Spanish transmission system operator, which must conclude whether the closures would affect security of supply.

This would also represent a change in Naturgy’s – formerly Gas Natural Fenosa –  strategy as it had previously announced that it would invest in La Robla and Meirama to comply with the strictest emission limit values in EU legislation. The electricity company already obtained in 2018 the closure authorization for the Anllares plant (Castilla y León).

The closure of all three plants in June 2020, at the latest, is a step in the right direction as, in order to meet the objectives of the Paris Agreement, all coal-fired power plants in Spain must close by 2025. In this regard, IIDMA has asked the Government to include a specific coal phase-out date in the National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP), which will be published in the coming weeks.

Endesa has already made investments to ensure that the As Pontes or Litoral plants continue to operate beyond 2020, and its plans for the Alcudia plant in Mallorca are not yet known, although according to information published in the media, it has submitted the closure request for groups I and II. EDP has also invested in Soto de Ribera and Aboño, while Viesgo has invested in Los Barrios. Without setting a specific phase-out date for coal in the NECP, there is a risk that these plants will continue to operate beyond this date, which is unacceptable if we want to comply with the goals of the Paris Agreement and tackle climate change, to which Spain is particularly vulnerable.

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