Celebrating 50% coal phase out milestoneMarch 23, 2021
It’s official - we are halfway to phasing out coal in Europe.
Recently announced plan to close UK’s 2nd last coal power plant, WestBurton owned by the EDFenergy, marks a special date in the history of European energy transition and greenhouse gas emissions reduction. Within 5 years since the Paris Climate Agreement Europe has reached a memorable milestone of 50% coal mines having closed, or announced closure before 2030.
The plants are being retired faster than anyone expected, with some of them, just like the WestBurton power station, announcing it closure plans two years ahead of schedule. An ever-growing number of financial institutions and governments are taking proactive decisions to exit coal, closing off avenues for coal politically, and leading to changes in policy. Market dynamics act in favor of the energy transition as well. The dramatic fall in the costs of solar and wind make an economic case for rapid uptake in renewable energy supply – renewable energy reached 40% share in the overall EU energy mix, in the first half of 2020.
Yet, there are still 162 coal mines in Europe located in countries where little to no discussion on phase out is had, i.e. Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia, Kosovo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Croatia, and Turkey. We are in the endgame of goal in Europe, but there is still work to be done. Governments, financial institutions and utilities shall bank on the majority of Europe’s coal plants turning into culturally symbolic relicts of the past. Governments that accept this inevitable shift, and put supportive policies in place, are better able to protect workers, and reap the greater benefits of clean energy, earlier. The increasing civic support, as well as rapidly improving economic case for the green energy alternatives, make an ever-strong case for building healthier, cleaner, and more resilient societies.
Today’s celebration achievement would not have been possible without the relentless work of climate activists from organizations and networks across Europe - raising awareness, advocating, and pushing legislators to raise the ambition on climate targets. Hats off to all of you and...
2030 coal phase out here we come!
Photo: West Burton A power station near Retford in Nottinghamshire