Coal plant operator Steag reports 20 percent revenue drop, criticises exit plan
Rheinische Post / Süddeutsche Zeitung
Utility company Steag, which operates 5.5 gigawatt of hard coal power plants in North Rhine-Westphalia and Saarland and abroad, and is owned by several western German cities, is suffering from falling sales and earnings because of the energy transition, writes Antje Höning in Rheinische Post. The utility’s revenue fell by 20 percent to 2.9 billion euros in 2018; more than half of Steag’s earnings came from activities abroad. Things will get worse when Steag is forced to shut down more of its coal plants under the coal phase-out proposal by 2038, the company’s leadership fears. Chairman of the board Guntram Pehlke has therefore demanded some 600 million euros per gigawatt of mothballed coal capacity in compensation.
Meanwhile the federal government is thinking about tendering the closing down of hard coal plants: those utilities asking for the least money to shut power stations would win, explains Benedikt Müller in Süddeutsche Zeitung. Steag head Joachim Rumstadt criticises that the phase-out plan wants to see hard coal plants mothballed before closing the more emission-heavy lignite coal plants. “This isn’t an economic or an ecologic decision but a purely political one,” he said.
A multi-stakeholder commission proposed in early 2019 to phase-out coal power generation by 2038 in Germany. The federal government is currently working out the details about the schedule and compensation payments for the individual power station shut-downs.