Portugal becomes fourth EU country to stop using coal-fired power stations | Economic news

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LISBON, Portugal (AP) – Environmental activists welcome the end of coal-fired power generation in Portugal, although they said on Monday that the possible conversion of the country’s last coal-fired power plant to a wood pellets would be a step in the wrong direction.

The Pego power plant located 150 kilometers (90 miles) northeast of the Portuguese capital Lisbon stopped producing over the weekend as Portugal became the fourth country in the European Union to stop burning coal to produce electricity. Belgium ditched coal in 2016, and Austria and Sweden followed suit last year.

Portugal has no coal, oil or gas, all of which are imported, and has invested heavily in green energy in recent decades.

“The dire coal economy and the public’s desire to act for the climate are leading to increasingly rapid eliminations across Europe,” said Kathrin Gutmann, campaign manager for Europe Beyond Coal, which aims to ensure phasing out coal in Europe by 2030.

Coal is the main source of greenhouse gas emissions.

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“The challenge now is to ensure that utilities don’t make the mistake of replacing coal with fossil gas or unsustainable biomass,” Gutmann said in a statement.

But the proposals for the continued use of Pego, which is being tendered, include biomass.

Portuguese Environment Minister João Pedro Matos Fernandes said other proposals include solar power and the production of electric vehicles. Proposals must be submitted by January 17th.

“Freeing ourselves from our biggest source of greenhouse gases is an important day for Portugal. But he is embittered by the prospect of converting the plant to burn forests, ”said Francisco Ferreira, president of the Portuguese environmental association ZERO.

“Giving up coal just to move on to the next worst fuel is clearly not the answer,” he said.

Follow AP’s climate coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/climate

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