Iberdrola completes the closure of its coal plants and moves towards green transformation

#business #environmental sustainability #climate change

The company is putting an end to coal with the closure of the Lada (Asturias) and Velilla (Palencia) thermal power stations, culminating a process initiated in 2001 that has led to the closure of 17 coal and fuel oil thermal power stations around the world with a total production of more than 8,500 MW.


To avoid job losses due to the closure of the Lada and Velilla plants, Iberdrola has initiated several green transformation plans in these regions. These plans include investment in renewables, the creation of citizens' platforms, circular economy projects and stimulating businesses and local employment around green principles and innovation with support for local enterprise.

 100 % renewable investment

Thus, Iberdrola's commitment to the consolidation of a future energy model is being completed in Asturias with the acceleration of new investments in wind projects in the region, where the company is developing four wind farms that will involve an investment of more than €100 million. With a total power of 130 MW, these projects will allow the company to triple its renewable capacity in the region. Iberdrola has also signed contracts with six local companies for new renewable projects, and for the deployment of smart grids.

The group is making solid progress in the construction of three of these wind farms (Cordel-Vidural, Capiechamartín and Panondres), which, due to the high mountainous terrain, have become the most complex wind infrastructure project undertaken in Spain so far.

In Castilla y León in the coming years Iberdrola will promote more than 1,800 MW in renewable projects, in which it will invest more than 1.3 billion euros, generating 18,000 jobs. The company will build the largest photovoltaic project in the region in Velilla itself, with 400 MW of installed capacity, also making it one of the largest in Spain.

Iberdrola is already operating plants that generate more than 5,100 MW in wind and hydraulic power in this region, in addition to a portfolio of wind power and photovoltaic projects currently totalling more than 1,100 MW, the plans for which will begin in 2020 for a 2020 roll-out.

 Galvanising the local industrial fabric

The construction of these projects is contributing to stimulating the local and national industrial fabric, and to creating employment in the region, as practically all jobs in field and civil work are being done by local companies.

In Asturias, over the last 18 months the contracts assigned to local companies by Iberdrola have reached 300 million euros in value, and in Castilla y León the company now makes annual purchases for 150 million euros from over 700 companies in the community, allowing for the creation of 265 jobs a year.

 Citizens' Innovation Platform

Iberdrola's green recovery plan for both areas also includes the launch of Citizens' Innovation Platforms to channel entrepreneurial initiatives, which will serve to accelerate collaboration processes between the public, public bodies and companies. The programme also includes the promotion of training and informational programmes to improve employability.

The first phase of the Citizens' Innovation Platform initiative has begun with the training of a dozen employees at the Lada headquarters in Asturias. This will consist of gathering information — by way of community listening dynamics — on the main challenges and opportunities within the region and, in this way, channelling the best entrepreneurial and R&D initiatives of local entrepreneurs and suppliers.

 Circular economy

Another point is the promotion of the circular economy by installing plants for the recycling and reuse of ash, slag and plaster that have come from old thermal power stations, to turn them into new materials for the construction sector.

 Sustainable mobility

All of this is complemented by greater investment in sustainable mobility, with the roll-out of a charging infrastructure for electric vehicles, and the analysis of innovation projects related to new technologies, such as energy storage, green hydrogen production, etc.


With these closures, the company is accelerating its firm commitment against climate change: reducing absolute greenhouse gases emissions by 2030 from a 2017 base-year and being carbon neutral by 2050 at a global level. Iberdrola is currently emitting 65,5 % less than the average of the European electricity sector (according to the Sustainability Report 2019 [PDF]) and has requested the European Commission and the European Parliament to approve some more ambitious environmental targets for the year 2030 [PDF], increasing the percentage of renewable energy to 35 % instead of the current goal of 27 %.

This way, and in reflection of its commitment to the decarbonisation of the economy, energy stability and clean energy, Iberdrola group is a world leader in renewable energy and is 20 years ahead of the current energy transition.

All of these actions are aligned with the commitments acquired by the company after the incorporation of the Sustainable Development Goals into its corporate strategy and its support for the Paris Agreement (COP21) and to subsequent Climate Summits.

The company also materialises its commitment through green financing: Iberdrola has become in the international benchmark of green credits, the perfect source for the long-term financing of projects that make a difference from the environmental point of view.