Between 2005 and 2008 EU utilities were determined to embark on a major coal-plant construction programme. They announced plans to build 49 GW of new coal-fired power capacity, about 6.3% of total EU installed generating capacity. Yet post-2008, only 10.5 GW of this planned capacity became operational, 37.8 GW (77%) was cancelled, and there remains 1.1 GW still in planning unlikely to ever be built. This report addresses the important questions that stem from this: why did the majority of plant proposals not go ahead; what makes the projects that did proceed different; what challenges are these new plants likely to face now and in the future; and to what extent are the projects that did succeed likely to become stranded generation assets? The results are relevant not just to understanding the fate of the remaining coal-fired power stations in Europe, but also the future of those currently planned or being built in other countries.