Four in five EU coal power plants unprofitable: Greece’s PPC faces EUR 596 million loss, Romania’s CE Oltenia EUR 567 million

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Four in five EU coal power plants are unprofitable and utilities could lose EUR 6.6 billion this year alone, finds a new report from financial think-tank Carbon Tracker. Looking at the region, Greek utility PPC could lose EUR 596 million this year, Romanian utilities could lose EUR 567 with CE Oltenia alone facing losses of EUR 479 million. Bulgarian power utilities face EUR 657 million, Croatian companies EUR 21 million, and Slovenian EUR 25 million in losses.


According to the report produced by Carbon Tracker, the most exposed member states are Germany, Spain and the Czech Republic whose coal generators could lose EUR 1.97 billion, EUR 992 million and EUR 899 million, respectively, in 2019.

“The most exposed utilities are RWE, EPH, and PPC who could hemorrhage EUR 975 million, EUR 613 million and EUR 596 million, respectively, in 2019,” the report Apocoalypse now reads.

The coal plants which remain profitable include those in Poland, which receive relatively high subsidies; efficient units in Germany and the Netherlands; and plants in Italy, the Czech Republic and Slovenia, which benefit from high wholesale power prices.

This year EU hard coal generation has fallen 39% since 2018, resulting in “eye-wateringly low utilization rates” while lignite generation is down 20%. Carbon Tracker estimates that overall 84% of lignite generation and 76% of hard coal generation is unprofitable.

The report warns investors and policymakers to prepare for a complete phase-out of coal across the EU by 2030 because without heavy subsidies the industry will not survive sustained competition from ever lower-cost wind and solar power and temporarily cheap gas.


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