Enel head of global power generation says company’s coal exit will happen faster than expected
Monday, June 15th, 2020
Italian utility Enel SpA will likely close its remaining coal-fired power stations around the world faster than anticipated, with worsening economics for the fuel leading to billions in write-downs and making an even stronger case to replace capacity with gas-fired plants and renewable energy.
The company is still one of the largest owners of coal plants among European utilities and last month was placed on a watchlist by Norway’s $1 trillion sovereign wealth fund for falling foul of new environmental guidelines, which require companies to own less than 10,000 MW of coal capacity.
But Antonio Cammisecra, head of global power generation at Enel, said in an interview that the company expects to reach that milestone by the end of this year — likely accelerating Enel’s eventual exit from coal, tentatively planned for 2030.
Enel now wants to close its last coal plant in Chile several years ahead of schedule, after which it will have only one small Colombian unit left in Latin America. In October, the company sold its last coal plant in Russia. “We’ll do it faster than we expected just one year ago,” Cammisecra said. “No doubt, by 2025, Enel will be out of coal in Italy and, mostly, around the world.”
The rest of its coal stock, roughly 11,000 MW in all, is in Europe: In Italy, the company just got permission to close a 660-MW unit at its plant in Brindisi, while two of its five remaining plants in Spain also have the green light for decommissioning.
“It must be done. And the quicker we do it, the better for everybody,” Cammisecra said. “We’re basically not burning coal right now … and this is not a temporary factor,” Cammisecra said, pointing to increasing generation from wind and solar, cheap gas and a tightening emissions market in Europe, which are all eating into margins for coal. “I think this [dynamic] is here to stay,” he said. “So better to close these plants now.”https://ieefa.org/enel-ceo-says-companys-coal-exit-will-happen-faster-than-expected/