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Portugal to be coal free by year’s end




The 1296 MW Sines coal plant in Portugal will be shut at midnight tonight, 14 January, almost nine years earlier than first planned. The EDP-owned plant is one of only two coal plants in Portugal, with the other, Pego, already scheduled to close in November this year. When it does, it will make Portugal the fourth country in Europe to completely eliminate coal in electricity production since the UN Paris climate agreement was signed – following in the footsteps of Belgium (2016), and Austria and Sweden (2020).

“Sines has represented, on average, 12 percent of the total Portuguese greenhouse gas emissions. Its closure is the most important step for a decarbonised future and a clear consequence of several years of civil society pressure,” said Francisco Ferreira, president of the board of Portuguese environmental NGO, ZERO.

The closure comes just two days after EDP Group’s, EDP Renováveis, announced that the European Investment Bank has agreed to provide the company with EUR 65 million to finance the construction and operation of two onshore wind farms in the districts of Coimbra and Guarda, with a total nominal capacity of 125 MW [1]. “In four years, Portugal has gone from having a rough strategy to exit coal by 2030, to concrete plans to be coal free by year’s end.

Sines going offline even earlier than expected underscores the reality that once a country commits to clean energy, the economics of renewables deliver the transition very quickly,” said Kathrin Gutmann, Europe Beyond Coal campaign director. “Countries like Germany, Czech Republic and Poland who have committed to, or are considering coal phase out dates well after the needed 2030 end for coal in Europe should take note: not choosing ambitious phase-outs will leave you playing catch up as they happen anyway.”

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