Spain break away from the carbon and greenhouse gas emissions plummet

Spain has taken a leap in a decade in only a year. And something that the Government projected for 2030 —the end of the use of coal to generate electricity in t

Spain break away from the carbon and greenhouse gas emissions plummet

Spain has taken a leap in a decade in only a year. And something that the Government projected for 2030 —the end of the use of coal to generate electricity in the country— has practically occurred during 2019. The country has been disengaged from the coal, and, as a direct consequence, emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), the main greenhouse gas, in the sector of electricity generation have declined by 33.3% in the year that has just ended, according to the data advanced by Electrical Network of Spain to THE COUNTRY.

The coal used in thermal power plants has for decades been one of the main sources to generate electricity. But 2019 has been the year in which Spain has given back to this fossil fuel which, when burned, drives out the CO2 that warms the planet. January 1, 2019 certified the end of mining within the country due to the lack of profitability of deposits in national and European Union legislation that bars state aid to this activity. The anticipation was that, despite this closure, the thermal power plants in spain that use coal —import which are located on the coast and is fed through the vessels to continue operating for several years. In fact, their owners had made millions in investments to adapt to the new standards of emissions which come into force this year in Europe.

MORE INFORMATION

Special interactive: As the planet warms the carbon dioxide The power will lose this year 1,000 million with the coal-fired plants

however, the generation of electricity from coal has plummeted, and 2019 has been the year in which less energy is produced in the thermal from which there are records —the of Electrical Network of Spain started in 1990—. Does not arrive nor to 5%. It is a 85,6% less than in 2002, when they reached the peak in the generation of electricity from this polluting fuel in Spain. In addition, the system of the peninsula lived in 2019 for the first time five days -14, 21, 22, 24 and 25 of December— without the need to generate electricity with coal.

After this abandonment of the coal there are several factors that have made it to the electric companies already do not come out profitable to keep in operation these thermal power plants. In fact, the situation is such that a recent report prepared by the group of experts Carbon Tracker stood at 992 million as the losses that would have to the end of 2019 electric utilities that own power plants in spain.

CO2 Emissions

of the generation

of electricity in Spain

Data in million tonnes of CO2

110,93

97,5

86

79,7

77,2

81,7

74,5

64,6

for 66.8

66,2

by 66.1

63,1

by 43.1

2007

09

11

13

15

17

19

Source: Electrical network of Spain

THE COUNTRY

Emissions of CO2 of the generation

of electricity in Spain

Data in million tonnes of CO2

110,93

97,5

86

79,7

77,2

81,7

74,5

64,6

For 66.8

66,2

by 66.1

63,1

by 43.1

2007

09

11

13

15

17

19

Source: Electrical network of Spain

THE COUNTRY

CO2 Emissions of the electricity generation in Spain

Data in million tonnes of CO2

110,93

97,5

86

81,7

79,7

77,2

74,5

64,6

for 66.8

66,2

by 66.1

63,1

by 43.1

2007

09

11

13

15

17

19

Source: Electrical network of Spain

THE COUNTRY

One of the determining factors is the market of rights of emission of the EU. After nearly three decades it has been achieved that the price they have to pay the power plants for the CO2 that they expel to rise enough to discourage the use of this fossil fuel. During 2019 the price of the ton of CO2 has been at 25 euros, which has resulted in the generation with coal in many european countries it is cost-effective compared to other options, such as the production with natural gas or renewables.

The market of emission rights has finally result in an instrument useful in the fight against climate change in Europe; the problem is that they still have not managed to lay a foundation for the emissions trading world, as was evident in the Climate Summit that was held in December in Madrid.

the lowering of The price of natural gas has also influenced this 2019 in the fall of coal, in addition to the introduction of more renewables. The installation of clean energy grew by 10% during the past year in Spain. 36.8% of the electricity generated in our country was renewable and 58.6% was free of CO2 emissions —that is to say, renewable, more nuclear power, according to Electricity Network.

All these factors have made the Spanish electricity sector has closed the year with more than 43 million tons of CO2 emitted into the atmosphere, which represents a 33.3% less than the 64,5 million expelled in 2018. Carbon dioxide is the main greenhouse gas and the electric power sector accounted for 17% of all emissions of the Spanish economy. What is expected is the collapse of the CO2 from the generation of electricity involves in a drop of the global emissions of 2019. But there will still be that wait to find out how she has behaved the transportation sector (mainly automobiles and trucks), which accumulated in 2018, 27% of the emissions of greenhouse gases, and the industry, 19%. In recent years, the fall in the electricity sector have been offset by increases in emissions from transport.

employment Plans urgent

The advancement of the closing of the coal-fired power plants, which was not foreseen in principle by the Government until the next decade, is generating mobilization in the areas affected by the closure of the majority of the 15 power stations in spain. For example, in the region surrounding the thermal power plant of As Pontes (A Coruña), the most powerful in the country. This installation —which in recent years has been on the list of the 20 factories that the more greenhouse gases are emitted into the atmosphere in the EU— was planned to be continued during the next decade. But the increase of the prices of CO2 and the conditions of the market have made its owners, Endesa, has had it stop during this 2019, something which had not happened ever until now. In fact, the electric has requested permission from the Government to permanently close the facility. The final close, according to Endesa, will not be finalized until within 18 months: the central account even with 800,000 tonnes of carbon in their stores. The electric company was trying to as well reassuring to the workers, who have already been manifested on several occasions against the closure.

In its government agreement PSOE and We have committed to develop “action plans urgent for the counties affected by the closure of coal-fired power plants and nuclear power plants with known calendar”. The goal is to “ensure new employment opportunities in the regions affected”. For its part, the BNG and Teruel Exists subject also their support to Pedro Sanchez to develop plans of “just transition” in the affected areas.

Updated Date: 04 January 2020, 04:00

You need to login to comment.

Please register or login.

RELATED NEWS