Back in 2016, Belgium made history by becoming the first EU country to break ties with coal. Last year, Austria and Sweden followed suit, as the world is increasingly pushing for the wide adoption of more sustainable energy sources such as wind and solar.
Now, we’re happy to announce the good news that, as of last week, Portugal is no longer using coal for electricity generation, becoming the fourth EU country to turn its back on dirty fossil fuel.
Located in central Portugal, about 150 kilometers (90 miles) northeast of Lisbon, the Pego coal plant stopped generating electricity last weekend. Now the country has no coal, oil, or gas, which are all imported, and has been working to reduce its reliance on fossil fuels by investing heavily in renewables in recent years.
“Coal’s dire economics and public desire for climate action are driving faster and faster phaseouts across Europe,” said Kathrin Gutmann, director of Europe Beyond Coal, a campaign aiming to ensure Europe stops generating coal power by 2030.
The government is now looking for alternative uses for the coal plant, including solar energy projects and electric vehicle products, as well as a biomass power plant which is facing strong resistance from environmental groups.
“Freeing ourselves from our biggest source of greenhouse gases is a momentous day for Portugal. But it is soured by the prospect of the plant being converted to burn forests,” said Francisco Ferreira, head of the Portuguese environmental group ZERO.