Earlier this year, Sweden closed its coal-fired cogeneration plant KVV6 at Värtaverket which has been in operation and supplied heat and electricity to Stockholmers since 1989. This way, Sweden contributes to making Europe greener.
Thirteen EU countries have committed to going coal-free by 2030, pivoting to renewable energy sources like solar and wind instead. So, the world’s dirtiest source of energy will have vanished from over a dozen European countries by the end of this decade.
Two years ahead of schedule
When Sweden permanently closed down its last coal power plant last April, two years ahead of schedule, the country became the third European country to eliminate coal from electricity production.
The two other European countries which committed to go coal-free this year is Belgium which was the first to cut ties with coal in 2016. Last April, Austria closed its Mellach-based power plant which has generated more than 30 billion kWh of electricity and 20 billion kWh of district heating in the last 34 years.
200 years as principal energy source
Coal has been the principal energy source in the world for over 200 years. It’s said to be the largest contributor to man-made climate change. In 2019, 40 percent of carbon dioxide emissions globally came from coal. That doesn’t even account for the mercury, lead and sulfur dioxide that goes into the air when coal is burnt.
When Stockholm Exergi AB closed the Värtaverket plant the company called it “a milestone” for clean energy in Sweden. “Our goal is for all our production to come from renewable or recycled energy,” the company said in a statement.
Coal-free by 2030
According to the nonprofit organization Europe Beyond Coal, France, Slovakia, Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece, the Netherlands, Finland, Hungary, and Denmark are expected to end coal by 2030. According to NS Energy, Cyprus, Estonia, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, and Switzerland “have never had any capacity to speak of.”
Norway has only one coal power plant, in Longyearbyen on Svalbard. In 2019 it released a record-high CO₂, with 77,000 tons. “We are committed to finding sustainable solutions for the future, which also ensure a secure supply of energy. This is important for the society on Svalbard,” said the Norwegian Minister of Petroleum and Energy Tina Bru to NRK.
Sweden Contributes to Making Europe Greener
The early closure in Sweden was made possible by a mild winter that reduced power demand. Stockholm Exergi AB announced that the closure would reduce the company’s total CO₂ emissions by half, and that its goal was to transition to an all-green energy profile.
Sweden Contributes to Making Europe Greener, written by Tor Kjolberg
Feature image (on top): Värtaverket. Photo, Wikipedia
Image 1, Photo by ETA+ on Unsplash
Image 2, Photo by Ella Ivanescu on Unsplash
Image 3, Photo by Johannes Plenio on Unsplash