Portugal became the fourth country in Europe to complete a coal phase-out with the closure of coal-fired power plant Pego. This puts it into an exclusive group alongside Belgium, Austria and Sweden.
The country’s shift away from coal began when it signed a phase-out declaration at COP23 (2017) in Bonn, Germany and the plant closure happened five years ahead of the original schedule.
The announcement has received a positive response from various climate groups, such as Portuguese environmental group Zero, which stated: “Freeing ourselves from the biggest source of greenhouse gases was a momentous day for Portugal.”
Kathrin Gutmann, Europe Beyond Coal campaign director: “Portugal is the perfect example of how once a country commits to quitting coal, the pace of the phase-out inevitably accelerates. The benefits of transitioning to renewables are so great, once started, it only makes sense to get out of coal as fast as possible.”
“Coal’s dire economics and public desire for climate action are driving faster and faster phaseouts across Europe. The challenge now is to ensure utilities do not make the mistake of replacing coal with fossil gas, or unsustainable biomass.”
The Pego Thermal Power Plant was completed between 1992 and 1995, having achieved full operation in October 1995. Owned by Engie and Endesa, the Pego plant’s supply of coal was imported by CarboPego via the Port of Sines 290km away and delivered by rail. The plant had an installed capacity of 628MW and featured two units. Each unit was equipped with a steam generator, one turbine-generator unit and a main transformer.
According to Reuters, Pego plant owner Endesa is considering turning the plant into one that burns wood pellets.