New Report Reveals Economic Path to a Rapid Coal Phase-out in Europe

“Investing in the Recovery and Transition of Europe’s Coal Regions” report from BloombergNEF and Bloomberg Philanthropies shows potential for Bulgaria, Czechia, Poland and Romania to move off coal power, grow economies, and play a leading role in Europe’s green recovery

Read the full report here.

Brussels and New York, July 6, 2020 –
Today, Bloomberg Philanthropies and BloombergNEF (BNEF) released “Investing in the Recovery and Transition of Europe’s Coal Regions,” a new in-depth analysis on the transition of the power sector in four key Central and Eastern European economies: Bulgaria, Czechia, Poland and Romania. Undertaken as part of Bloomberg Philanthropies’ partnership with the European Commission’s Coal Regions in Transition Platform, the report reveals that through clean energy investment, these countries can be important drivers of Europe’s green recovery and climate efforts.

The report was launched in conjunction with remarks by Michael R. Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg L.P. and Bloomberg Philanthropies, Frans Timmermans, Executive Vice-President of the European Commission for the European Green Deal, and Michał Kurtyka, Poland’s Minister of Climate on the status of the clean energy transition and green recovery efforts in Europe’s coal regions. The virtual meeting today highlighted the unique opportunity for Europe to accelerate the region’s transition away from coal towards clean, renewable energy sources with the support of its ambitious Covid-19 recovery plan. Discussions at the event also recognized the key role of Europe’s coal countries, regions and local authorities in advancing the transition.

“Growing the economy and fighting climate change go hand in hand, and BNEF’s latest report shows that there’s a smart economic way for countries that still rely on coal to phase it out quickly, right now,” Michael Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg LP and Bloomberg Philanthropies. “By investing in clean energy, governments in Central and Eastern Europe can help drive the economic recovery from COVID-19, while also reducing air pollution, improving health, and slowing the effects of climate change.”

“To become the world’s first climate neutral continent, we have to turn the page on coal. Letting go of an industry that has provided jobs for decades will not be an easy process but Europe is ready to support it. Poland, Czechia, Bulgaria, and Romania can become leaders in Just Transition and switch from coal to clean while contributing to industrial leadership of Europe,” stated Frans Timmermans, Executive Vice-President of the European Commission.

“Energy transition is essential towards EU climate neutrality by 2050. However, it is not the only action. We need unprecedented changes in the existing way of life – change the way of mobility, housing, and even food production. We need to secure existing investments to guarantee the continuation of the transformation, strengthen local industry and direct new investments not only to reduce emissions, but also to increase employment and resilience of economies. Central and Eastern European countries may soon be the driving force for green recovery and implementation of EU climate ambitions. However, great opportunities often carry even greater responsibilities,” said Michał Kurtyka, Minister of Climate of Poland. “Poland and the other EU Member States need support from the Recovery Fund to stimulate economies, protect key sectors from the effects of the recession, and trigger a transformation with the mission of achieving climate and energy goals for 2030.”

“As the EU aims to slash its emissions by 55% from 1990 levels and adopt a green recovery strategy, it will need to accelerate the pace of transition in the power sector, which accounts for the largest share of EU greenhouse gas emissions,” said Jon Moore, CEO of BNEF. “This report highlights the opportunities generated by the decarbonization of central and eastern European countries, which could halve their power sector emissions on an economic basis under current market and regulatory conditions.”

The BNEF report maps least-cost transition options for four key power markets in Central and Eastern Europe. This is the first time BNEF has used its New Energy Outlook modelling tools to explore the transition of these countries’ power markets, finding that by 2030 the least-cost scenario would allow these four countries to reduce their power sector emissions by 48% from 2018 levels. Taken together, new renewable capacity in these four markets could bring up to 53.7 billion euros in new investment.

Launched in 2017, Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Global Coal and Air Pollution program is focused on tackling climate change and the air pollution crisis by moving the world beyond dirty coal power to a clean energy economy. To date, the program has helped retire 138 out of 323 existing coal-fired plants in Europe. Working with a network of best-in-class research, policy and advocacy partners, the program has helped phase out more than 661GW of coal-fired power capacity — the equivalent of 1,100 coal plants — around the world.

Media Contacts
Veronika Henze

Daphne Wang
Bloomberg Philanthropies

About BloombergNEF

BloombergNEF (BNEF) is a strategic research provider covering global commodity markets and the disruptive technologies driving the transition to a low-carbon economy. Our expert coverage assesses pathways for the power, transport, industry, buildings and agriculture sectors to adapt to the energy transition. We help commodity trading, corporate strategy, finance and policy professionals navigate change and generate opportunities.
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