The president of Chile has announced the early closure of four coal-fired power plants by 2025, a huge acceleration from previous plans to close the plants in 2040. Speeding up their plans to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, Chile will also be looking to retire 18 of the 28 coal plants currently in operation by 2040 at the latest, accounting for over 65% of their current fleet.
This acceleration could help reduce approximately 6 million tonnes of carbon emissions, which will directly benefit residents who live nearby in terms of health benefits and improved air quality. For example a study in 2020 found asthma attacks to have declined amongst residents who live in the vicinity of coal power plants following its closures. As coal plants release pollution including mercury, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides into the air, residents nearby are more susceptible to respiratory and cardiovascular diseases.
Other countries who are planning to close over the next decade include:
- France is aiming to phase out coal powered plants for electricity by 2022 and end the sale of gas and diesel internal combustion cars by 2040.
- In 2023 Portugal will close its last two power plants. Slovakia will also begin to phase out their power and heat production of coal during this year.
- In Great Britain the last coal power plant is planned to be closed in 2024.
- Hungary plans to phase out coal power in 2025, five years earlier than planned. Ireland also plans to shut down it’s last coal fired power plants during this year.
- Italy and Greece both plan to phase out coal generated power before the year 2030 in the years 2025 and 2028.
- Denmark, Canada, Israel, The Netherlands and Finland are all looking to close down or phase out the last of their coal fire powered plants.