15 January 2024

European countries ring in 2024 by bidding farewell to coal

BERLIN, 15 JANUARY 2024 – To kickstart the new year, Slovakia and Austria have bid farewell to coal power. Slovakia has expedited its coal exit from 2030 to 2024, while rumours of a return to coal in Austria have failed to materialise, with record additions of solar and wind power easing out coal and helping to ensure security of supply.

Slovakia’s last coal plant, Vojany (220 MW), will close later this year, after its Novaky (266 MW) plant closed in December 2023. It brings the country’s coal phase-out forward by an impressive six years, with major benefits for people’s health and the Slovakian economy [1]. In Austria, the proposed reactivation of the Mellach plant was never a viable option due to the significant cost burden it imposed on taxpayers [2]. Instead, the country bolstered its wind and solar growth, which catapulted Austria into second place among European nations with the highest renewable energy share in power generation for 2023 [3]. Alongside six EU countries, Austria also recently announced its commitment to decarbonise its electricity system by 2035 [4].

Alexandru Mustață, campaigner at Beyond Fossil Fuels, said: “The demise of coal power in Slovakia and Austria is the latest example of the waning role of coal in Europe, as countries rapidly seek renewable alternatives to this expensive, dirty fossil fuel. Slovakia must now focus hard on getting coal and fossil gas out of its heating sector by renovating buildings and rapidly installing heat pumps. Both countries need to turn their attention to phasing-out all remaining fossil fuels from their power sectors by 2035 to be consistent with efforts to limit the increase in global temperatures to 1.5C.

END

Contacts:

Alexandru Mustață, Campaigner, Beyond Fossil Fuels, [email protected], +40741926908 

Julia Pazos, Communications Officer, Beyond Fossil Fuels, [email protected], +13109949692

Notes:

  1. https://www.minzp.sk/iep/publikacie/ekonomicke-analyzy/decarbonization-slovak-economy-2030.html 
  2. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-08-23/austria-s-path-back-to-coal-fired-power-hits-political-roadblock 
  3. https://www.euractiv.com/section/politics/news/austria-boasts-europes-second-greenest-power-sector-in-2023/
  4. https://www.government.nl/latest/news/2023/12/18/group-of-european-countries-aim-to-decarbonize-their-electricity-system-by-2035 

About: 

Beyond Fossil Fuels is a collective civil society campaign committed to ensuring all of Europe’s electricity is generated from fossil-free, renewable energy by 2035. It expands and builds upon the Europe Beyond Coal campaign, and its goal of a coal-free Europe in power and heat by 2030 at the latest. www.beyondfossilfuels.org

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