Monday, January 18, 2021

Climate Change: Ending coal in Portugal

Back in 2016, the Portuguese government announced plans to stop burning coal by 2030. But progress has come much quicker, and they're now scheduled to close their last coal plant by the end of this year:

The Sines coal plant in Portugal went offline at midnight yesterday evening (14 January), leaving the country with just one remaining coal power station in operation, which is scheduled for closure in November.

Portuguese energy utility EDP announced its decision to shut down the 1,296 MW Sines coal plant in July last year, bringing the closure forward by two years – from 2023 to 2021. EDP’s initial plans were to close Sines in 2030.

The decision is “part of EDP group’s decarbonisation strategy” and was taken in a context where energy production increasingly depends on renewable sources, the company said back in July.


This leaves Portugal with just one remaining coal power plant in operation, Pego, which is already scheduled for closure in November this year, campaigners said.

Once it closes, Portugal will become the fourth coal-free state in Europe - unless someone else beats them to it, of course. France, Slovakia, the UK, Ireland and Italy are all planning to end coal by 2025, and it seems that once that decision is made, action tends to go faster rather than slower. Meanwhile in New Zealand Huntly is still legally allowed to burn coal. Hopefully that will change once the Climate Change Commission delivers its initial budgets and reduction plans in a couple of weeks.