Coal phase-out by 2030 could cut utility losses by €22 billion
More than half of all coal plants in the EU are loss-making, rising to 97% by 2030, finds a Carbon Tracker report launched today. It warns investors that utilities currently only plan to close 27% of capacity by then and that a complete phase-out of coal by 2030 could stem utility losses by €22 billion ($26bn).
Forthcoming air quality standards and carbon prices are pushing up coal operating costs while clean technology costs continue to fall. The report finds that building new onshore wind and solar PV projects will be cheaper than operating existing coal plants by 2024 and 2027 respectively.
“The changing economics of renewables, as well as air pollution policy and rising carbon prices, has put EU coal power in a death spiral. Utilities can’t do much to stop this other than drop coal or lobby governments and hope they will bail them out.”
Matt Gray, Carbon Tracker analyst and co-author of the report
Carbon Tracker analysed the profitability of every coal unit in the EU to look at the financial implications of a coal phase-out in Europe consistent with the goal of the Paris Agreement.
German utilities RWE and Uniper could avoid losses of €5.3bn and €1.7bn respectively by closing plants by 2030. This strategy would cut losses for all of Europe’s 15 largest coal plant operators, except Italy’s Enel and Romania’s CE Oltenia. Continue reading “54% of EU coal power is loss-making”