Los Barrios power station

From Global Energy Monitor

Los Barrios power station is a 568-megawatt (MW) coal-fired power station in Los Barrios, Spain. It was formally retired in 2021. In 2022, the plant was retroactively opened on a temporary basis.


The photo below shows the plant in Los Barrios, Cadiz, Andalusia.

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Los Barrios power station was a 568 MW subcritical coal plant in Spain. It began operating in 1985.[1]

In June 2020, plant owner Viesgo requested the closure of the 570 MW plant. The company said it could not determine an estimated closure date for the plant as the process was subject to several administrative procedures and authorisations. According to Argus, "the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on Spanish coal-fired power demand may have contributed to the change in strategy." Argus noted that "Data from Spanish power grid operator REE show that coal-fired generation in the southwest province of Cadiz — where Los Barrios is the sole coal generator — reached minus 4.78GWh in the first five months of this year, which meant the unit consumed more electricity than it produced during the period."[2] According to a report in Spanish daily El Economista, the decision to close the Los Barrios plant would allow the zone to apply for European Transition funds, although Viesgo did not confirm this.[3]

The plant ceased operation in 2020 and the retirement authorization was granted in March 2021. The official closure came, as explained by the company, not because of problems in complying with environmental regulations, but because the power station was uneconomic. The company signed the Agreement for a Just Transition to boost economic activity in the area.[4]

In February 2022, Viesgo announced that the plant would be brought back online to ensure that the grid's full load could be supported. After three years of retirement, the power station had already been partially dismantled. The renewed operation of the plant was intended to be temporary and help to support energy security. The long-term goal was to transition the station into a thermal hydrolysis plant.[5]


The initial owner and developer of the plant was the Seville Electricity Company (CSE). Subsequently, Endesa absorbed CSE, becoming the owner of the complex. In June 2008, E.ON Spain acquired Endesa and Spanish power company Electra de Viesgo. In 2015, E.ON Spain was acquired by the Macquarie European Infrastructure Fund and Wren House Infrastructure funds, and reverted to the name of Viesgo.[6]

Proposed unit

A second 800 MW unit was announced in June 2013. The proposed unit was sponsored by Endesa of parent company Enel.[7]

In response, Greenpeace Spain objected, noting that building a new project was "incomprehensible," not only in terms of its immediate environmental and climate effects, but also Spain's electricity needs. Greenpeace argued the current 568 MW plant at Los Barrios was underutilized, calling into question the rationale for a new facility.[8][9]

With no developments since the June 2013 announcement, plans for the plant appear to be abandoned.

Project Details of unit 2

  • Sponsor: Endesa
  • Parent company: Enel
  • Location: Los Barrios, Cadiz, Andalusia, Spain
  • Coordinates: 36.1828, -5.42 (exact)
  • Status: Cancelled
  • Gross Capacity: 800 MW[7]
  • Type: Supercritical[7]
  • Projected in service:
  • Coal Type:
  • Coal Source:
  • Source of financing:

Articles and resources


  1. "Los Barrios Coal Plant Spain," Global Energy Observatory, accessed August 2014
  2. "Spain's Viesgo U-turns and now plans to shut coal plant". Argus. Retrieved June 23, 2020.
  3. "Another coal plant to close in Spain as Viesgo applies to shut 570-MW unit". spglobal.com. June 16, 2020. Retrieved June 23, 2020.
  4. "EDP analiza proyectos de energías renovables para los terrenos de la central térmica de Los Barrios," EuropaSur, April 2, 2021
  5. "La central térmica de Los Barrios ya genera energía para el sistema eléctrico," Europa Sur, February 2, 2022
  6. Viesgo, Wikipedia, accessed June 2020
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 "Anuncios," Boletín Oficial de la Junta de Andalucía, June 21, 2013
  8. "Greenpeace se opone al proyecto de Endesa de ampliar la central térmica de carbón de Los Barrios," Greenpeace España website, June 9, 2013
  9. "Greenpeace pide a la Junta de Andalucía que no autorice una nueva térmica de carbón en Cádiz," Greenpeace España website, June 5, 2014

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