EU Coal Plants Could Lose Up To $7.3 Billion

Nearly four out of every five coal plants in the EU are running at a loss, research published by London-based think tank Carbon Tracker on Thursday suggested.

What Happened

The research has estimated that 84% of lignite and 76% of hard coal generators in the union are running at a loss.

According to Carbon Tracker’s assessment, the losses made by these two in 2019 could add up to $7.31 billion — with lignite generators losing $3.93 billion and hard coal generators losing $3.37 billion.

The think tank recommends the policymakers to prepare to discontinue hard coal generation by 2025 and lignite by 2030. It predicts that their loses will keep mounting for the foreseeable future, as competition for emission-free energy alternatives increases.

"EU coal generators are hemorrhaging cash because they cannot compete with cheap renewables and gas and this will only get worse. Policymakers and investors should prepare to phase out coal by 2030 at the latest,” the report’s co-author Matt Gray told Reuters.

Germany, Spain, and the Czech Republic are particularly vulnerable, the research says. Coal generators in these three countries alone could account for $4.29 billion, a whopping 59% of the total loss.

What's Next

The research further suggests that while western members of the European Union are announcing coal phase-out plans, the eastern countries lack the “policy incentives” to bring changes like that.

Carbon Tracker mentions Poland as an example in the study. The Eastern European country continues to generate 80% of all its energy through coal, in spite of the EU call for carbon neutrality.

"If EU governments chose to support coal over the long-term, it could create intractable problems, as they will be forced to choose between destroying shareholder value, depleting fiscal resources or undermining economic competitiveness,” the research warns.

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