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EU ministers back right to support coal-fired power plants to 2030

December 20, 2017

By Paul Homewood

News from Platts:


EU coal-fired power plants could benefit from capacity payments through 2030 if a negotiating position agreed by EU energy ministers on a draft EU electricity market design regulation makes it into the final binding version.

  • Refine eligibility criteria for capacity schemes
  • Agree 700 kg CO2 on average per year per kW limit
  • Next step is to reach accord with EU parliament

The position, agreed at an EU energy council meeting in Brussels, would allow existing power plants with emissions either above 550 g carbon dioxide/kWh or 700 kg CO2 on average per year per installed kW to receive capacity payments through 2030.
These payments would have to start decreasing though after 2025.
New power plants with emissions above these limits — i.e. all unabated coal plants — would not be allowed to take part in capacity mechanisms from 2025.
These timings are around seven years later than the European Commission’s original proposal from November 2016, which sought to exclude new plants above the 550g CO2/kWh emission limit from capacity mechanisms from around late 2018 and existing plants from around late 2023.
The commission’s timings were linked to the entry into force of the regulation, which is likely to be around late 2018, subject to further approvals.

The 700 kg CO2 on average per year per installed kW limit is another new element, proposed by Italy, which is intended to allow low-use, higher-emission peaking plants needed for supply security to continue taking part in capacity mechanisms.
Italy pushed for a 700 kg limit over an initial proposal from France for a 350 kg limit, saying the lower limit would exclude gas plants needed for supply security. France relies mainly on nuclear power plants.
The capacity mechanism limits are particularly relevant for Poland, which still generates more than 80% of its power from coal plants, and is in the process of finalizing a capacity mechanism.
It plans a first capacity auction in December 2018, for capacity to be delivered five years later.
But even Poland has no plans to build new, unabated coal plants after 2025, according to its energy minister Krzysztof Tchorzewski, and Poland was happy with this negotiating position.
Poland may be the most reliant on coal, but Germany has the highest CO2 emissions from power emissions in Europe, a legacy of old, depreciated, coal plants benefiting from renewables keeping prices too low to make gas-fired plants profitable.

The UK, which is phasing out all coal plants by 2025, is going to be far out on a limb.

Meanwhile Poland has just opened Europe’s largest coal-fired plant:



Warsaw: Polish state-controlled energy company Enea on Tuesday inaugurated Europe’s largest coal-fired power unit, at a time when other nations want to shift away from greenhouse gas-emitting fossil fuels.

Enea opened a 1,075 MW capacity unit built by Japan’s Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems at its Kozienice plant to join a dozen other units in the 250-300 MW range at the site.

"The B11 section is the largest and most modern in Europe," said the firm’s head of production Krzysztof Figat during a ceremony carried live over the internet to mark the 1.5 billion euro ($1.8 billion) project.

Total capacity at the plant, which uses some three million tons of coal annually, mainly from the Bogdanka mine in southern Poland, is now nearly 4,000 MW.

As well as the major plant at Kozienice, Poland is home to Europe’s largest plant at Belchatow near the city of Lodz, one of the largest coal-fired plants in the world.

Coal remains a sector of primary importance in Poland, employing some 100,000 people.

Coal and lignite account for around 90 percent of Polish energy production.

"The new unit will increase energy security of Poland and the Polish people, which is an economic and political priority for our country," said new Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki.

Warsaw has recently slowed development of wind power and is still to decide on whether or not to build a first nuclear plant in a country suffering some of the worst air pollution in Europe.

  1. December 20, 2017 9:50 pm

    “Next step is to reach accord with EU parliament” … facepalm, LOL, good luck with that!

  2. John F. Hultquist permalink
    December 21, 2017 4:00 am

    Good for Poland.
    Other folks from the EU can vacation there to see what “real” electricity is like.

    • December 21, 2017 6:39 am

      On the other hand, Poland is being heavily criticised by the EU over its reforms of the judicial system for not “upholding EU democratic principles”. I wasn’t aware that the EU had any democratic principles. Good for Poland for doing the right things for the people of Poland.

      • December 21, 2017 11:48 am

        Maybe Poland could invite the US UN Ambassador, Nikki Haley, over to tell the EU how it is going to be. She has an excellent track record, especially this week when she told the UN what they could do about nullifying the US plans to move our embassy to Jerusalem.

      • Gerry, England permalink
        December 21, 2017 2:00 pm

        If only we were not making such a balls up of Brexit we could be creating a strengthened Single Market that could persuade the less committed nations such as Poland, Hungary, etc to leave the EU. But we have May and Davis….

  3. A C Osborn permalink
    December 21, 2017 4:42 pm

    This really is the lunatics running the asylum.

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