Energy companies in Italy and Spain have faced unexpected local opposition to their own plans to shut polluting plants

Europe’s race to quit coal has hit a speed bump as energy companies face local political resistance to the closure of power stations burning the polluting fuel.

ScottishPower owner Iberdrola said this month that it was closing its last two coal power stations in Spain as part of its plan to cut carbon emissions and switch to cleaner power generation. But days later the Spanish government reacted by blocking the shutdowns, starting the process for a royal decree that would give ministers the final say on any power station closure if it was deemed to affect energy security.

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