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Another coal plant to close in Spain as Viesgo applies to shut 570-MW unit


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Essential Energy Insights - January 2021

Another coal plant to close in Spain as Viesgo applies to shut 570-MW unit

Spain-based Viesgo Infraestructuras Energeticas SL, owned by Australia's Macquarie Group Ltd., has applied to close its 570-MW coal-fired unit at Los Barrios, the company told S&P Global Platts on June 15.

The closure will mark the company's move to be completely decarbonized, it said, without giving a precise date for the closure.

Viesgo is already planning to close its 298-MW coal-fired plant at Puente Nuevo at the end of June, having decided not to retrofit the unit with emissions reduction capabilities.

According to a report in Spanish daily El Economista, the decision to close the Los Barrios plant will allow the zone to apply for European Transition funds, though the company did not confirm this.

The Los Barrios plant had previously been considered part of essential supply to the industrial hub nearby in Campo de Gibraltar — a situation which has been eased by reduced demand and increased renewable energy output.

The announced closure at Los Barrios means only three of Spain's 14 coal plants might be expected to operate beyond next year.

These would be the 916-MW Abono and 350-MW Soto de Ribera, both owned by Portugal's EDP - Energias de Portugal SA, which could also close by 2025, according to Spain's National Energy and Climate Plan, and the 510-MW Alcudia plant on the Balearic island of Majorca, which has been given special status due its location and is due to be reconverted to gas.

Viesgo's Puente Nuevo and seven other plants that were not retrofitted have to close at the end of June, while of the remaining six plants, Los Barrios is expected to join Endesa SA's 1.5-GW As Pontes and 1.2-GW Litoral plants, which it has said it expects to close before the end of 2021.

Coal-fired output in Spain in 2020 has sunk 61% year over year, with a slight resurgence this month as generating sites burn through the last of their stocks.

Seven of the plants due for June closures are awaiting final authorizations from the government to proceed to the dismantling phase, with only the 1.2-GW Compostilla unit having received authorization in February.

Joseph Clarke and Gianluca Baratti are reporters with S&P Global Platts. S&P Global Market Intelligence and S&P Global Platts are owned by S&P Global Inc.