Nearly all European coal-fired power plants will be loss-making by 2030 -research
LONDON, Dec 8 (Reuters) - European power companies could
save billions of dollars by stepping up closure of coal-fired
power plants as nearly all of them will be loss-making in Europe
by 2030, think-tank Carbon Tracker Initiative says.
Coal power should be phased out in the European Union by
2030 to meet the Paris Agreement's target to limit the rise in
global average temperature to below 2 degrees Celsius.
However, the bloc is still reliant on coal-fired power and
only 27 percent of coal-fired power plants in the EU plan to
close before 2030, Carbon Tracker said in a report released on
Friday, basing its estimate on company reports and countries'
Fifty four percent of European coal-fired power plants are
currently cashflow negative and this could increase to 97
percent by 2030 due to rising carbon prices and stricter air
quality rules, Carbon Tracker said, based on modelling from
commodity price forecasts, asset operating costs, gross
profitability and government policies.
"Since the majority of coal units are loss-making by 2030,
the EU could avoid 22 billion euros ($26 billion) in losses by
phasing out coal power in line with the Paris Agreement," Carbon
Germany-based units could save 9 billion euros by phasing
out coal, while Poland could save 3 billion euros.
The utilities who have the most to gain from phasing-out
coal are Germany's RWE and Uniper, who could
save 3 billion euros and 1.7 billion euros, respectively,
according to Carbon Tracker.
Coal-fired power currently makes up 26 percent of total EU
Carbon Tracker, however, says coal power's operating costs
could be higher than onshore wind by 2024 and solar photovoltaic
by 2027, while energy storage technologies and power reduction
firms increasingly provide back-up power.
Analysis by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial
Analysis earlier this year said more than 100 separate power
plants — representing a third of Europe's large-scale coal-fired
power plant capacity — face costly air quality upgrades or
closure as a result of the pollutant limits.
Many coal plant operators, however, say coal will be needed
for decades to come to provide stable energy supplies as
renewable energy is intermittent.
($1 = 0.8471 euros)
(Reporting by Nina Chestney; Editing by Susan Fenton)
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