Published on April 6th, 2017 | by Joshua S Hill0
European Energy Companies Pledge To End New Coal After 2020
April 6th, 2017 by Joshua S Hill
In a surprise announcement at a press conference this week in Brussels, the European electricity sector has come out and committed to ensuring there are no new coal plants built after 2020.
The announcement apparently came out of the blue, with the Union of the Electricity Industry, EURELECTRIC, announcing on Wednesday that its 3,500 members across every EU Member State except Greece and Poland, were “determined to play a key role in providing clean energy for all Europeans and make electricity a central energy carrier for the low carbon economy.”
In a statement (PDF) adopted by EURELECTRIC, members have made a new commitment to not only pledge to decarbonize the sector, but a measurable pledge to build and invest in no more coal-fired power plants after 2020.
“26 of 28 member states have stated that they will not invest in new coal plants after 2020,” said Kristian Ruby, Eurelectric’s secretary-general. “History will judge this message we are bringing here today. It is a clear message that speaks for itself, and should be seen in close relation to the Paris agreement and our commitment to provide 100% carbon-neutral electricity by 2050.”
“Europe’s energy companies are putting their money where their mouths are.”
“The power sector is determined to lead the energy transition and back our commitment to the lowcarbon economy with concrete action,” added EURELECTRIC President and CEO of the Portuguese energy group EDP, António Mexia. “With power supply becoming increasingly clean, electric technologies are an obvious choice for replacing fossil fuel based systems for instance in the transport sector to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”
The announcement comes only days after several big-ticket findings regarding the low-carbon transition in Europe. A new report from climate change research provider CDP found that major European utilities are risking €14 billion worth of earnings if they do not rapidly respond to climate targets laid out in the Paris Agreement. This new announcement from EURELECTRIC would seem to be at least a big step in the right direction for mitigating these risks.
The European Environment Agency this week also announced that the share of renewables in the EU’s energy mix has increased from 15% in 2013 to 16% in 2014, and up to 16.7% in 2015, and that renewable energy accounted for 77% of all new electricity-generating capacity added in 2015, the eighth year in a row it has accounted for the majority of new additions.
A day later, the European Commission published stats that showed European emissions from coal fell by 11% in 2016, and that total EU ETS stationary emissions fell by 2.4% in 2016, from 1803 million tonnes in 2015 to 1759 million tonnes in 2016.