Category: START Regional profiles, Location: Asturias, Spain, Date: May, 2020
Asturias is situated in north-west Spain and has a population of 1.02 million. The region’s coal mining industry was concentrated in the south west and central areas of the region, where the region’s coal power plants are also located. However, only one coal mine remains active. The region is composed of 78 municipalities, of which 57 are severely or directly affected by coal mine closures and the phase out of coal power plants. Most economic activity and a large part of the population are located in the central municipalities of Asturias. The decommissioning of regional coal power plants is significant not only from the perspective of electricity supply but also in terms of the service supplied by the grid – e.g. security and quality of supply – that are of importance for the region’s industrial base, much of which is electro-intensive in nature and dependent on reliable and affordable electricity supplies. The phase out of coal and coal-fired electricity generation will also have significant implications along the whole value chain and for related supply chain and service activities. Notably, it will affect the port of Gijon, which is the largest port in Spain for solid bulk cargoes, including coal and ores, and related transport and logistics services, with an estimated 100,000 annual truck movements to transport coal from ports to power plants.