EU: Dawn of new emissions rules could sound death knell for coal power

New EU rules formally agreed on Monday, 31 July mean power plants will have to cut pollutants, with the cost of compliance estimated to be over €15bn. Environmental groups predict that the logical next step is widespread closures of the most polluting coal-powered plants.

Europe’s power plants will have to cut pollutants such as nitrogen oxide, mercury and particulate matter under new rules that were approved by member states back in April and which were formally agreed by the College of Commissioners.

Over 3,000 Large Combustion Plants (LCPs) will have to comply with the new rules by 2021 and current estimates believe 82% of the EU’s coal capacity emit too much and are non-compliant.

In order to bring these facilities up to code, the sector could be hit with a bill of up to €15.4bn. According to a June study commissioned by the European Climate Foundation, this massive expenditure and the uncertain situation of coal as an energy source mean the most polluting coal power plants could be left with no option but to close down.

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