Coal begins to be a rarity in the Iberian Peninsula

Both in Portugal and in Spain the production of electricity from coal-burning has been reduced practically to zero, a trend that marked the first six months of the year and which is mainly due to low gas prices and high prices of electricity. CO2 emissions.

The two countries had already pledged to close all coal plants in the next 3 years, by 2023, but the process accelerated in the first half of 2020.

In Portugal, only 0.5% of the country’s electricity production originated from coal between January and June 2020, according to the APRE renewables bulletin. The national energy mix now dominates hydropower (36%), followed by wind (25%), natural gas (20%), fossil cogeneration (9.9%), biomass (6.8%), and solar (2, 6%).

Looking specifically only at June, coal disappeared this month from the Portuguese energy mix, natural gas soared to 30% of generation, solar almost doubled to 4%, fossilcogeneration reached 11%, biomass to 7.8 % and the hydro decreased sharply to 22%, with the lowest water productivity index. A year ago, in the first half of 2019, 15% of the electricity produced in Portugal still originated from coal and hydro did not exceed 19%.

In May, the environmental association Zero noted the fact that the Sines plant has practically been closed since 26 January. On March 14th, it was the turn of the Pego, Trustenergy and Endesa plants, to shut down the turbines. This has not happened for 35 years, since the Sines plant started operating in the country. EDP ​​has already warned the Government that it wants to close Sines once and for all in January 2021, while that of Pego is scheduled to end in 2023.

According to APREN, in the month of July coal has already been used again to produce electricity in Portugal, being responsible for 2.4% of generation in that month. Also last month, renewables accounted for 44.1% of the total electricity generated in mainland Portugal.

Highlight for the production of photovoltaic solar electricity, which reached a historic maximum of 150 GWh in July, partly as a result of new investments in the sector, which were reflected in the start-up, under the general market regime, of 50.7 MW new power in the last two months.

On the other side of the border, in Spain, the month of June marked the closing date for 9 of the 14 coal-fired power plants, which had not made investments in the environmental improvements required by Spanish legislation.

At the same time, this reduction to historic lows in the production of electricity using coal is already being offset by increased production through natural gas, renewable energy and nuclear.

Until 2035, a phased closure plan for nuclear power plants will take place in the neighboring country. According to the report of the technological giant, in the last year in Spain there was a special growth in the production of electricity from renewable hydroelectric, wind and photovoltaic energy, similar to Portugal.

The same decree defines the bases for the celebration of new renewable energy auctions, with some changes compared to those that took place in the past, to cover all technologies.

In Portugal, the second solar auction will take place at the end of August, which already includes the possibility of including electricity storage projects. For the beginning of 2021 the Government is already planning to hold an auction for the production of hydrogen and two more solar auctions over the next year.

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