Tuesday, October 4

The Government authorizes the partial closure of the As Pontes coal plant in A Coruña

Endesa has received authorization from the Government to partially close the As Pontes thermal power plant, in the province of A Coruña. The Ministry for the Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge has given the go-ahead to the definitive closure of two coal-fired generation groups, but leaves the permit pending for the other two, which will be given “conditionally, taking into account the reinforcement of variables availability of power in the electrical system. The plant, one of those that the leader of the PP, Alberto Núñez Feijóo, asks to keep in operation, was the most polluting company in the State. The drop in profitability led its owner to start the process to dismantle it. When it stopped working, Galicia’s CO2 emission indicators improved, something that the Xunta boasted about.

Endesa burns coal again at the As Pontes thermal plant due to the rise in the price of electricity

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The decision of the central government to authorize the closure in part comes after having requested a new report from Red Eléctrica de España (REE) on the energy company’s request for As Ponres to stop working. The Third Vice President of the Government and Minister for the Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge, Teresa Ribera, met with the CEO of Endesa, José Bogas, to discuss the future of As Pontes.

The ministry already had a REE report prepared in 2020 to authorize the closure of the four groups of the coal power plant, with about 350 MW each, but in the spring of this year it decided to request a new one that took into account the tensions caused in the energy markets due to the war in Ukraine and the high export of electricity. This second document analyzes new scenarios and determines “the convenience of closing the two inoperative groups and that the closure of the other two be conditioned to the reinforcement of power availability variables in the electrical system through various measures that are being put in place, such as the increase in the availability of cogeneration or the establishment of an active demand response mechanism”.

Ribera has reminded Endesa of the reconversion and alternative investment commitments in the area, within the agreement for a fair energy transition for thermal power plants in closure, signed in April 2020 between the Government, unions and the companies that own the plants. Endesa, for its part, has presented a development plan of 2,682 million euros for Galicia, which it calculates will generate 1,361 jobs. It is also pending authorization and foresees the substitution of the 1,400 megawatts (MW) of coal at As Pontes for 1,300 renewable MW. It also includes the dismantling of the plant -scheduled for four years-, the installation of new industrial projects on the thermal site, the logistic boost to the Ferrol port terminal and a training plan for the people in the area.

The energy company defended in a statement that “it is neither leaving nor disregarding As Pontes and Galicia” and that its social and economic development plan is being presented to the central government, the Xunta and the As Pontes City Council. She assures that her objective is to relocate the employees to other areas of the company, in the dismantling, in the plans for the future or to agree on their departure.

Agreements have been announced to supply power to the Sentury Tire company and to Alcoa’s aluminum plant on the north coast of Lugo, which is currently partially inactive. As for the projects for the land linked to the plant, the company highlights one that also involves Sentury Tire and another that Ence has announced that it is studying to install a biomaterials and tissue paper plant.

Another axis of action will be, according to the company, the generation of green hydrogen, with a project of up to 100 MW of electrolyser that will be supplied with the wind projects in the area that already have connection rights. Endesa adds the proposal to create a strategic wind maintenance logistics center for Spain in As Pontes.


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