EU coal power plants incurred €6.6 billion losses in 2019, study reveals

(EurActiv, 24 Oct 2019) Increasing environmental regulations and fierce competition from renewable energies are increasingly making coal-fired power operate at a loss. According to a British think tank, coal-fired power plants are losing billions of euros every year, but energy companies say this is nonsense. EURACTIV Germany reports.

Coal-fired power plants in the EU are becoming increasingly unprofitable as they have incurred losses worth €6.6 billion this year, according to a new study by the British think tank Carbon Tracker.

The analysis published on Thursday (24 October), indicated that 79% of all European coal-fired power plants are now making losses. Germany is the most affected with losses amounting to €1.9 billion, while Spain (€992 million) and the Czech Republic (€899 million) trail close behind.

Only a few power plants in Poland, Italy and Slovenia are still making profits due to stable electricity prices on the wholesale market. This is also the case for two highly efficient plants located in both Germany and the Netherlands.

“Coal is no longer a profitable business. This is partly due to rising fuel costs, but also increasingly fierce competition from renewable energies. Low gas prices, in particular, are putting the coal business under pressure,” Sriya Sundaresan, one of the study’s authors, told EURACTIV.

For their calculations, the team of analysts included a wide range of public data on 542 coal-fired power plants in the EU. They took into consideration data on fuels, operating costs, price of emission certificates, as well as the cost of measures such as installing new filters to comply with stricter EU environmental regulations.

Coal phase-out by 2030 at the latest?

Such a trend is nothing new for the coal business.

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EurActiv, 24 Oct 2019: EU coal power plants incurred €6.6 billion losses in 2019, study reveals