It seems more likely that the Italian utility Enel SpA will close its remaining coal-fired power stations around the world faster than anticipated.
In an interview with the press last week, Antonio Cammisecra, Enel’s head of global power generation and CEO of Enel Green Power said, that the company expects to reach that milestone by the end of this year, which is expected to accelerate the phasing out of coal, which was originally planned for 2030.
Cammisecra stressed that there is only one way to recover from a coronavirus pandemic, and that is green. If we could close all our coal-fired power stations tomorrow, we would have no choice but to switch to renewable energy, “We need to accelerate our decarbonization efforts, abandon coal, and produce more wind, solar, and hydrogen that could come to life by 2021 or later,”
Cammisecra said, “Enel expects the first plant to produce green hydrogen within a year, but the project is still in the development phase to find a customer and a suitable market.”
In Italy, the law requires all coal-fired power plants to be shut down by 2025, but the company believes it can shut them down by then. Cammisecra insisted that the exit was feasible in all Enel markets, where the company has 1,000 megawatts (MW) of coal-based thermal power capacity. Spain and Chile both aim to achieve a 100% share of renewable energy by 2030, allowing companies to easily switch from coal to renewable energy.
In Italy, the law requires all coal-fired power plants to be shut down by 2025, but the company believes it can shut them down by then. Cammisecra insisted that the exit was feasible in all Enel markets.
“It must be done. And the quicker we do it, the better for everybody,” Cammisecra said. “We’re basically not burning coal right now … and this is not a temporary factor,” Cammisecra said, pointing to increasing generation from wind and solar, cheap gas, and a tightening emissions market in Europe, which are all eating into margins for coal. “I think this [dynamic] is here to stay,” he said. “So better to close these plants now.”
At the end of May, Enel SpA said that it had received the green light for the early closure of a thermal power plant’s unit in southern Italy starting from January 1, 2021.