EU coal-fired power plants could benefit from capacity payments through 2030 if a negotiating position agreed by EU energy ministers on a draft EU electricity market design regulation makes it into the final binding version.

  • Refine eligibility criteria for capacity schemes
  • Agree 700 kg CO2 on average per year per kW limit
  • Next step is to reach accord with EU parliament

The position, agreed at an EU energy council meeting in Brussels, would allow existing power plants with emissions either above 550 g carbon dioxide/kWh or 700 kg CO2 on average per year per installed kW to receive capacity payments through 2030. These payments would have to start decreasing though after 2025.
New power plants with emissions above these limits — i.e. all unabated coal plants — would not be allowed to take part in capacity mechanisms from 2025.

These timings are around seven years later than the European Commission’s original proposal from November 2016, which sought to exclude new plants above the 550g CO2/kWh emission limit from capacity mechanisms from around late 2018 and existing plants from around late 2023. The commission’s timings were linked to the entry into force of the regulation, which is likely to be around late 2018, subject to further approvals.