EDP mulls closing Soto de Ribera coal plant by 2022

  • : Electricity
  • 20/05/20

Portuguese utility EDP has been considering plans to shut down its 346MW Soto de Ribera 3 coal-fired plant in Spain by 2022 and only keep the 562MW Abono 2 coal unit in the country after that date.

In a market presentation this week, the company mentioned that 0.7GW of its 1.25GW Spanish coal-fired capacity is "to be shut down by 2022", implying that just 0.55GW would remain operational.

Apart from Abono 2 and Soto de Ribera 3, the company owns the 342MW Abono 1 unit in Spain. All units are located in the northwestern region of Asturias.

EDP had already confirmed plans to reconvert Abono 1 into a 181MW gas-fired plant by 2022 and revealed that it was studying potential renewable projects to replace its entire 2.4GW coal-fired power fleet in Iberia, which also includes the 1.18MW Sines plant in Portugal. But it had not previously disclosed any estimated closure dates for its remaining coal-fired plants, only saying that the whole fleet should be permanently shut down "well before 2030".

The company concluded retrofitting works at both Abono 2 and Soto de Ribera 3 in recent years so that the units could continue operating after June this year, when a new EU-wide emissions directive comes into force.

Several Spanish coal-fired plants that did not go through retrofitting investments will shut down by the middle of the year.

Queried by Argus, EDP said no official decision has been taken yet about the closure of Soto de Ribera 3.

"Current market conditions do not allow this unit to operate, with some alternatives being analysed for the future of the plant," it said.

In case Soto de Ribera 3 was to be shut down by 2022, only one other coal-fired unit would remain operational in mainland Spain apart from Abono 2: Spanish utility Viesgo's 570MW Los Barrios, located in Cadiz province in the southern region of Andalucia. This means that mainland Spain would have only 1.1GW of coal-fired capacity after 2022, down sharply from 9.2GW currently.

A combination of low European gas hub prices, higher EU emissions trading system allowance costs and accelerated renewable additions have made Spanish coal-fired plants uncompetitive since the second quarter of last year.

Major Spanish utilities Naturgy and Iberdrola are completely withdrawing from coal generation in the middle of this year, while competitor Endesa plans to shut down its final coal-fired plants in mainland Spain by the end of 2021 while keeping its Es Murterar coal-fired plant in the Balearic islands until 2025.

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