Slovenia and the Czech Republic to phase out coal by 2033

The Slovenian government has adopted the National Strategy for Coal Exit and Restructuring of Coal Regions in accordance with Just Transition principles, setting 2033 as the year of completion of coal phase-out. The new Czech government announced that the use of coal in the country would cease the same year at the latest.

The strategy is necessary for Slovenia’s energy transformation to ensure a just transition as soon as possible for all workers and their families who will be affected, the government said in a statement. The strategy sets 2033 as the deadline for ending the use of coal for power generation.

Active Community involvement in processes in Slovenia

The strategy focuses on the just transition of the two coal regions of Slovenia – the Savinjska-Šaleška (SAŠA) region and Zasavje. The document also defines the main aspects of the planned closure of the Velenje coal mine in technical terms and the impact on employees, the community and the protection and preservation of the environment.

The strategy defines aspects of mine closure for employees and the community

Stakeholders from both fields actively participated in the preparation of the document. Representatives from trade unions, municipalities, formal and informal organizations shared data and opinions through various methodologies. Full environmental impact assessment has been implemented in the strategy, according to the announcement.

Slovenia and its coal regions will have unhindered access to the European Union’s Just Transition Fund, which provides €248.38 million from 2021 to 2027.

The electricity utility Holding Slovenske elektrane (HSE) welcomed the adoption of the strategy and the restructuring of the coal regions and said it would restructure the Velenje mine and the thermal power plant in Šoštanj.

Slovenia’s 600MW coal-fired power plant Šoštanj 6 controversially came online in 2015 and was immediately at risk of becoming a stranded asset, Europe Beyond Coal said. “From day one it was perfectly clear that Šoštanj 6 was not financially viable and Slovenian taxpayers would foot the bill, and we were right. The responsibility for this failure lies entirely with the politicians, energy experts and investors who supported this coal project, as well as the EIB and EBRD who approved it,” said energy expert Tomislav Tkalec to the association Focus for Sustainable Development.

Czech Republic gets coal phase-out date

The new Czech government has announced in its program that the country will abandon coal by 2033. It will have to manage the transition from an economy based on fossil fuels to renewable energies. According to the Energy Regulatory Office, in 2020 the Czech Republic produced 43% of its energy from coal and 37% from nuclear power plants.

Climate activists point out that 2033 is however three years behind the date compatible with the Paris agreement.

Greenpeace thinks the Czech Republic will phase out coal before 2030

“We see coal phase-out plans accelerating across Europe, and we believe the Czech Republic will phase out coal before 2030. But even the insufficient coal phase-out date of 2033 sends a clear signal to the energy industry that plans to expand the Bílina mine or modernize old coal-fired power plants must be abandoned now,” said Lukáš Hrábek of Greenpeace Czech Republic, quoted by Europe Beyond Coal.

ČEZ announces drastic reduction of coal in power generation

In line with the government’s promise to phase out coal, ČEZ announced that it would drastically reduce the use of coal in power and heating generation. The public utility plans to reduce the amount of electricity it generates from coal from the current 39% to 12.5% ​​by 2030.

When drawing up plans to phase out coal, the Czech Republic and Slovenia are looking to nuclear power to lay the foundation for energy stability.

Coal after 2033

According to existing promises in Europe, coal will only be used after 2033 in Poland, Turkey, Serbia, Montenegro, Bulgaria, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo*. The new German government has ambitious climate targets and a coal phase-out target of 2030, compared to the previously announced 2038.

Bulgaria has three scenarios under consideration, but the last coal withdrawal is in 2040. Montenegro has announced that it will complete it by 2035. Turkey, Poland, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo * have not yet set coal phase-out dates, but have committed to decarbonization by 2050 at the latest.

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