Ripe for Closure: Accelerating the energy transition by reducing excess fossil fuel capacity

The ‘Ripe for Closure’ report series estimate excess operating fossil fuel-fired electricity capacity in major coal-producing and consuming countries around the world. this report series aims to contribute to the identification and genesis of fossil fuel overcapacity, whose retirement could yield savings for energy consumers, essentially avoiding carbon emissions every year while keeping the lights on.

In collaboration with:

Authors: Isabella Suarez, Andrei Ilas, Lauri Myllavirta, Sunil Dahiya, and Matt Gray


The benefits of accelerating the retirement of 48.8 gigawatts of coal and oil overcapacity in Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Spain, and Turkey.

South Asia

A deep-dive into the 75 gigawatts of excess fossil fuel capacity in Bangladesh, Pakistan and India, and the implications for future capacity expansion.


Fossil fuel overcapacity in 20 major economies has reached massive and concerning levels. In a world of sky-rocketing fuel costs and electricity prices, they can be scrapped to make way for zero-carbon technologies.

Overcapacity has capital, operating and opportunity costs. The timeline for phasing out coal and decreasing the share of fossil fuels in Europe will be crucial in the rapid transition to a carbon-neutral economy.

Capital sunk in building new fossil fuels and the FOM cost of keeping excess capacity online could be spent on zero-carbon technologies and the just transition. This would reduce the vulnerability of these grids to volatile commodity prices and expedite a coal phase-out – a goal that we found many countries could reach before or by the 2030 deadline for developed countries, as well as the 2040 target for developing countries.

“the amount of excess capacity that already exists shows that meeting future demand can be done without adding more coal, oil, and gas to the mix.”

– Isabella Suarez, Analyst, CREA

No new fossil fuel capacity is needed to service demand, present or future. Instead, countries can save time and money in accelerating the deployment of zero-carbon technologies and efficiency on their electricity grids.