26 september 2018

Goldman Says Europe May Have Built Its Last Coal Power Plant

By Mikael Holter and Lars Paulsson, Bloomberg, September 26, 2018

* Environmental and fuel costs hurt the case for expansion
* Banks are growing reluctant to write loans for more plants

Western Europe may already have built its last coal power plant as governments everywhere crack down on greenhouse-gas pollution.

That’s the view of Gonzalo Garcia, the global co-head of natural resources at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. While U.S. President Donald Trump is seeking to revive the industry, politicians across Europe are working hard to stop using the dirtiest fossil fuel.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has named a panel of lawmakers from the main political parties to consider when the nation can close its last coal plant. The U.K. has vowed to do so by 2025. And financiers, notably Standard Chartered Plc earlier this week, are getting cold feet about writing loans for new coal plants.

“I personally believe that we’re not going to see a new coal plant being built in western Europe ever again,” Garcia said at a conference in Oslo on Wednesday. “It will be very challenging in most OECD countries to build new coal plants. It’s going to become increasingly expensive.”

The coal plants that remain open are becoming more expensive to run. Coal for delivery in Rotterdam is approaching $100 a ton, its highest in five years, and the cost of carbon emissions allowances is near the most it’s been in a decade.

“It’s going to become increasingly more controversial to keep burning coal,” Garcia said. “So there’s no question the big loser is going to be coal.”

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