The European power sector will not invest in any new coal plants after 2020, it has announced, striking another blow for the struggling fossil fuel.
Eurelectric, which represents 3,500 companies in the electricity sector across Europe with a turnover of 200 billion euro (£170 billion), also said it was planning to make the continent’s power supplies carbon neutral by 2050.
Only Poland, where more than four-fifths of power comes from coal, and Greece have not agreed to stop new coal plants after the end of the decade.
Eurelectric said its commitment to cut the carbon emissions from power generation, along with switching key sectors to electricity such as heating and transport, would make a major contribution to Europe meeting its climate change targets.
The UK Government has already announced plans to phase out polluting coal fired power plants by 2025, and the fossil fuel’s use in this country has tumbled in recent years to accounting for 9% of electricity generation last year.
Eurelectric president and chief executive of Portuguese energy group EDP, Antonio Mexia, said: “The power sector is determined to lead the energy transition and back our commitment to the low carbon economy with concrete action.
“With power supply becoming increasingly clean, electric technologies are an obvious choice for replacing fossil fuel based systems, for instance in the transport sector to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”
The sector is calling for a coherent regulatory framework to support the power sector transition, and says market-based mechanisms such as carbon markets are the most effective tool for cutting greenhouse gas emissions
In a statement, Eurelectric said an effectively reformed EU emissions trading scheme and improved EU electricity market design were needed to create a price on carbon that would drive investment in clean technology.