22 August 2023

Closure of Spain’s biggest coal plant makes way for massive wind power development

Madrid, 22 August 2023 – Spain is hastening towards a coal-free power sector, with the government accepting energy company Endesa’s request to close its 1,468 MW As Pontes coal plant by August 2024. It will be replaced by a portfolio of renewable energy projects across Galicia, including 1 GW of wind power capacity, which the company says will directly create 1,300 jobs in the region.

Spain is already generating around 50 percent of its power from renewables, and coal workers could have a bright future thanks to its Just Transition strategy. The fact that Spain wants to bring its coal phase-out forward by five years underlines just how much renewables are outperforming fossil fuels on price, energy security, and desirability,” said Alexandru Mustață, Campaigner at Beyond Fossil Fuels. 

With the closure of As Pontes, we can now concretely say that coal is no longer required for Spain’s energy security. The government’s ambition to bring forward the country’s coal phase-out by five years and massively increase the share of renewables in electricity production in line with the demands of civil society is the right approach. Spain should now be aiming to produce all of its power from renewables by 2035. That means adopting the same no nonsense approach to fossil gas as it has done with coal,” said Carlota Ruiz, environmental lawyer at IIDMA. 

Spain is one of 17 European countries to have either already exited coal or with a plan to phase it out by 2030 at the latest [1]. In its preliminary energy and climate proposal presented to the European Commission in June, the country signalled its intention to accelerate its coal exit timeline from 2030 to 2025, and to produce over 80 percent of its power from renewable sources by 2030 [2]. 

As one of Europe’s leading exponents of Just Transition [3], a record eight of the country’s high-carbon regions have already secured access to the EU’s Just Transition fund – more than any other country in the EU. The closure of As Pontes signals the end of Endesa’s coal operations on the Iberian Peninsula, but still leaves the country’s four remaining coal plants without concrete closure dates. 

END

Contacts:

Alexandru Mustață, Campaigner, Beyond Fossil Fuels, [email protected], +40 741 926 908
Julia Pazos, Communications Officer, Beyond Fossil Fuels, [email protected]+1 310 994 9692

Notes

  1. Overview of European national coal phase out plans: https://beyondfossilfuels.org/europes-coal-exit/
  2. Spain’s draft National Energy and Climate Plan: https://commission.europa.eu/system/files/2023-06/SPAIN%20-%20DRAFT%20UPDATED%20NECP%202021-2030.pdf
  3. Saying Adios to Coal: Lessons on Just Transition from Spain https://beyondfossilfuels.org/2020/12/10/saying-adios-to-coal/
  4. Rystad Energy expects Spain to generate half of its power from renewables this year: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2023-06-07/spain-set-to-generate-more-than-50-of-its-power-from-renewables 
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