July 7, 2020

Expert sees a fundamental step in the closure of seven of the thermal plants



Spain is advancing in the fulfillment of the European commitments to achieve emissions neutrality in 2050 with the closure on Tuesday of seven thermal power plants, a “fundamental step to accelerate the energy transition”, environmental lawyer Carlota Ruiz explained to EFE- Baptist.

Ruiz-Bautista, a lawyer from the International Institute of Law and Environment (IIDMA), has indicated that they have been working since 2014 so that “the closure of coal plants in Spain occurs no later than 2025.”

The year 2025 is the “deadline” so that the closure of coal plants in Spain can “align with the Paris Accords”, which points to the need to reduce emissions -causing global warming- with the aim of limiting 1.5 degrees the rise in the planet’s temperature until the end of the century.

In Europe, this alignment with the Paris Agreement should take place in 2030, although, in Spain, however, the closure of seven plants increases the reduction of emissions and other pollutants such as sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen dioxide (NO2) or particles “causing many diseases”.

The plants will cease to function at the end of the period of validity of the Transitional National Plan (PNT), which authorized them to operate from January 1, 2016 to June 30, 2020 “without complying with the emission limits of European regulations “

This exception mechanism included in the Industrial Emissions Directive of the European Union obliges to close Compostilla II (in León) and Andorra (in Teruel), both owned by Endesa. Likewise, Velilla (Palencia), by Iberdrola; Narcea (Asturias), La Robla (León) and Meirama (A Coruña), from Naturgy, and Puente Nuevo (Córdoba) from Viesgo, according to IIDMA data.

According to Ruiz-Baptist, Iberdrola also requested the closure of the Lada plant (Asturias), and it will cease to be operational on June 30. However, “as it is the only one to have made the necessary investments to reduce emissions, it will still be available.”

But the closure of the facilities is awaiting authorization from the Government, which has been delayed due to the paralysis of administrative procedures due to the health crisis.

“The plants are going to stop working without the formal closure authorization” of the Government, so Ruiz-Bautista urges the authorities “to expedite this process.”

In Europe, Poland and Germany, two countries with the strongest coal production, both in terms of mines and plants, “have announced the closure in 2040 and 2038, respectively.

Dates that for the IIDMA expert are “totally insufficient”, since the closings must be considered “as soon as possible” with guarantees of a “just transition for all those affected”.

The closings will also guarantee the reduction of pollutants with impacts on people’s health, as studies carried out by the Institute in 2014, 2015 and 2016 have shown. The latest report that these substances were “responsible for more than 1,500 premature deaths in Spain that year. ”

Asturias, Cantabria, Galicia and the Basque Country have been the most affected by pollution, a phenomenon that “has no borders” and that affects both air, soil and water, he says.

And he cites “the pollution generated by power plants in the United Kingdom affected Spain”, as the information in the maps prepared by the Europe Beyond Coal, a coalition of European organizations to which IIDMA belongs, shows how “the Pollution has been moving across Europe. “

“Emissions from Spanish plants have also affected Portugal and France, or those from Germany affect neighboring countries.” Explains that all plants must have a report on the state of the soil and groundwater before January 1, 2014.

However, those of Velilla and Compostilla, in Castilla y León “do not have that base report”, so they have urged the authorities to prepare it; otherwise, “they would be incurring a breach of European and Spanish regulations.”

Many companies have announced the substitution of renewable energy capacity for coal production, “a very important step for the energy transition.”

However, he asserts, this substitution “should not be with new gas projects, although for the moment they are not in sight,” because what is intended is that production be entirely with renewables to comply with the European Green Pact.

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