(Bloomberg) — From Galicia in the north to Andalucia in the south — Spain’s old coal plants are running out of steam. The Iberian nation last year cut use of the dirtiest fossil fuel faster than anyone else in western Europe as renewable energy and cleaner natural gas take over.
The combustible rock, which has kept the region humming through world wars and economic boom times, is increasingly out of favor with lawmakers and executives under pressure to do more to stop global warming.
“We are in a hurry, we have to move fast, everybody has to move fast,’’ Iberdrola SA Chief Executive Officer Ignacio Galan said on Tuesday at the World Economic Forum in Davos. The Spanish utility plans to permanently shut its two remaining coal-fired power stations this year, replacing them with new wind and solar capacity.
Coal’s share in the nation’s electricity fell to a four-decade low of less than 5% from 14% a year earlier, according to the nation’s grid operator Red Electrica SA.
The sharp drop is yet another sign how the unprecedented surge in renewable power output coupled with the lowest seasonal gas prices in a decade have upended traditional energy economics. Spain was anticipating exiting the fuel by the end of the decade, while the U.K. will shut all its plants by 2025. Germany last week struck a deal with its biggest power producers.
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