Europe Coal
"Verbund get out of coal" reads a placard held by members of climate awareness group Global 2000. Image credit: www.liebentritt.atVerbund Kletteraktion (c) GLOBAL 2000/Christoph Liebentritt

Austria has shut down it’s final coal power plant, Verbund’s Mellach site, eliminating the fossil fuel from electricity production, and making the country the second in Europe to do so.

“With Austria going coal free today it becomes clear that the momentum to leave coal behind has not slowed, despite the significant health and economic challenges we’re facing,” said Kathrin Gutmann, campaign director for Europe Beyond Coal. “Austria is ending coal burning, while supporting the uptake of renewable energy and the European Green New Deal. This is a great example of the path to healthier, cleaner, and more resilient societies.”

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The closure of Mellach comes after years of successful campaigning by the Austrian NGO Global 2000, which has been advocating for a coal exit and a focus on renewables. The closure means Austria is now the second European country since Belgium in 2016 to end coal use for electricity generation.

Seven more countries are expected to follow suit by 2025 or earlier:

  • France – 2022
  • Sweden – 2022
  • Slovakia – 2023
  • Portugal – 2023
  • UK – 2024
  • Ireland – 2025
  • Italy – 2025

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Beyond Coal expect a further 5 countries to join the 9 front-runners by 2030 or earlier, which is the necessary end date for coal generation in Europe for the continent to be in line with the UN Paris climate agreement.

This includes Greece (2028), the Netherlands (2029), Finland (2029), Hungary (2030), and Denmark (2030). Discussions are currently underway in the Czech Republic, Spain and North Macedonia over when to exit coal. Germany intends to exit coal by 2038, according to its yet-to-be adopted coal exit law – too late to honour its Paris commitments.

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