ContourGlobal, a power generator, has announced today that it has abandoned its plans to construct a 500-megawatt coal-fired power plant in Kosovo. It’s the third such project in the region to be canceled in the last six months.
The announcement (1) comes hot on the heels of a recent report by Carbon Tracker which shows that building new solar and wind farms in Europe is now cheaper than building new coal plants, or operating existing ones (2), reaffirming the decision of the World Bank to pull out of the “Kosova e Re” project in October 2018 (3). ContourGlobal accompanied the announcement by saying that it will not develop or acquire any coal power plants in the future.
“This is great news for clean air and a sustainable future for Kosovo”, said Viktor Berishaj, Energy Policy Coordinator for Southeast Europe at Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe. “We know that wind and solar are edging out coal across Europe, and much of the world. Planned coal plants either get canceled or they get stranded.”
Despite its renewable energy potential, Kosovo is almost entirely dependent on coal for electricity, and like other coal-dependent countries in the region, it relies upon direct and indirect subsidies to keep its coal sector afloat.
“Where previous governments wasted time and effort in futile attempts to keep coal alive at the expense of the taxpayers, their health and the climate, there now can and must emerge an inclusive and strategic process of building a Paris Agreement-compatible, climate-neutral, economically viable and renewable future beyond coal. This is great news for Western Balkans too, because it helps all countries in the region to abandon coal, free up resources and focus on accelerated deployment of the region’s enormous renewable energy potential in place of what is now Europe’s most polluting coal fleet” (4), adds Berishaj.
Kathrin Gutmann, campaign director at Europe Beyond Coal, added: “Montenegro and North Macedonia have both recently abandoned similar coal projects. Now it's Kosovo’s turn. This news should come as a stark warning to investors, and other countries in the Western Balkan region that have yet to abandon building new coal power plants, such as Serbia and Bosnia Herzegovina. Investing in coal is a gamble that simply won’t pay. The future lies in renewables and energy efficiency.”
“Given the ongoing climate emergency, the race is now on for Kosovo and the entire Western Balkans region to move beyond coal by 2030 at the latest, accelerating a just transition to renewables that will take it there, and on to climate neutrality by 2050. This brings to the forefront the need for strong progress of the Energy Community process, working to integrate the energy markets of the EU and those of its neighbours. The EU’s support for it will be crucial. The Commission will have a chance of demonstrating its commitment to this goal later this year when it unveils its Green Agenda for the Western Balkans as promised by the European Green Deal. Our collective house is on fire. Time for jump-starting energy transition in the region is quickly running out. This year - if we snooze, we lose”, concludes Berishaj.
Viktor Berishaj, Energy Policy Coordinator for Southeast Europe, CAN Europe, Mob +32 470 588 001, firstname.lastname@example.org
Stevan Vujasinovć, Communications Coordinator for Southeast Europe, CAN Europe, Mob +381 63 390 218, email@example.com
Kathrin Gutmann, Campaign Director, Europe Beyond Coal (German, English) +49 (0) 1577 836 3036, firstname.lastname@example.org
Alastair Clewer, Communications Officer, Europe Beyond Coal, +49 176 433 07 185, email@example.com
Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe is Europe's leading NGO coalition fighting dangerous climate change. With over 160 member organisations from 35 European countries, representing over 1.700 NGOs and more than 47 million citizens, CAN Europe promotes sustainable climate, energy and development policies throughout Europe.
Europe Beyond Coal is an alliance of civil society groups working to catalyse the closures of coal mines and power plants, prevent the building of any new coal projects and hasten the just transition to clean, renewable energy and energy efficiency. Our groups are devoting their time, energy and resources to this independent campaign to make Europe coal-free by 2030 or sooner. www.beyond-coal.eu