The production of electricity from coal in Portugal has ended
Tejo Energia’s central thermoelectric plant, in Pego, no longer has coal to burn. It stopped producing on Friday morning, which is a milestone in the history of the national electricity system, which is abandoning coal as a way to generate electricity.
According to data from REN – Redes Energéticas Nacionais, a coal-fired power station in Pego was still operating at dawn on Friday, but already at low load, with a power of 151 megawatts (MW) at 6:15 am. In REN’s balance sheet, at 7:15 am on Friday, the Pego plant was already at zero.
The plant, which has a capacity of 628 MW, distributed over two generator sets, has two unavailability notices, dated November 18, and related to these two generator sets, and which extend until November 30, the last day contract with the plant.
But according to the Middle Tagus site, as teams of workers at the Pego plant have already been informed of the depletion of coal at the plant, an indication that will also have been transmitted to REN, according to information collected by the Express.
The Pego coal plant had been operating since 1993, under an energy purchase contract, which guaranteed, until 2021, the sale of all its electricity to the grid with pre-defined revenues (it cost the national electricity system, ie. , to consumers, about €100 million).
With the end of production at the Tejo Energia plant, and after the shutdown, in January of this year, of the EDP thermoelectric plant in Sines, Portugal no longer has any electricity production from burning coal.
The national electricity system is thus only dependent, for the purposes of security of supply and response to the variability of production from renewable sources, on combined cycle power stations powered by natural gas (which emit about half of carbon dioxide per megawatt hour of electricity in the face of foundations of coal-fired power stations).
One of these combined cycle gas activities is also located in Pego.
The closure of the Pego coal plant leaves a hundred and a half workers with an uncertain future.
The Government is already bidding for the conversion of this thermoelectric plant, providing an energy injection capacity that currently belongs to Tejo Energia in new producers, with the requirement that future exploration of this connection point to the electricity grid be made using renewable sources .
The proposals for the reconversion will also be evaluated in terms of the employment guarantees that they present for the current workers at the coal-fired power plant. Among the companies that have already expressed their willingness to present proposals for the conversion are Trustenergy (majority shareholder of Tejo Energia) and Endesa (minority shareholder).
The two companies came into conflict over the future of the Pego plant, with Trustenergy defending the conversion to biomass burning and Endesa defining it for a solar energy and green hydrogen project.