Endesa to close two coal power plants in Spain

The company does not plan to carry out the necessary investments to comply with European regulations

Endesa plans to close two of its coal power plants in Spain and is in the process of requesting authorization to dismantle the facilities.

The Spanish utility is closing around two-fifths of its coal-fired generating capacity in the country. According to the company, the decision was made since it considers it cannot adapt to the new EU environmental regulations.

“We will present the application shortly because we do not plan to carry out the necessary investments to comply with European regulations,” an Endesa spokesman said.

The spokesman was referring to the new standards set by the European Union on resources and emissions for combustion plants last year. With the new regulations, coal power plants would require expensive technological upgrades.

Endesa states it does not have the resources to implement the necessary changes and thus it has decided to close the facilities.

The first plant is in Teruel in the country’s north-east, which has a capacity of 1,101 megawatts (MW); the second facility is in Compostilla in the north-west, with a 1,051 MW capacity, are due to close in 2020.

Less coal power plants

European regulations have put many coal power plants in a tough spot.

Many companies have chosen to abandon these activities, in a context that demands reducing carbon dioxide emissions. In this sense, Endesa’s Italian parent company Enel is planning to gradually eliminate coal-fired power plants.

Enel is planning to focus on electricity grids, renewables, and its retail business.

This situation is generating concern among Spanish utilities. Coal currently accounts for 18 percent of electricity generation, and utilities will be expected to generate more electricity to compensate.

Pedro Sanchez’s environmentalist stance is another factor adding more pressure. Minister of Ecological Transition Teresa Ribera has said that she expects a total shutdown of coal power plants in the near future.

With 18 percent of the electricity generation capacity eliminated and nuclear power plants also in danger, the Spanish energy matrix could lose about 40 percent of its generation capacity.

The companies in charge of generating this electricity are making an effort to migrate to renewables. However, they will wait for government proposals to join the Spanish energy transition.

The answer could be in the new Climate Change Law, a legislation still under development that could contain the necessary legal framework for companies to face this reorganization of the energy system.

Report from Reuters

For more information, check Energía16

See also: IEA: Energy demand to grow by 25 percent by 2040

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