09 Aug 2018, 12:41
Sören Amelang Kerstine Appunn Luke Sherman

Fear of coal plant compensation claims / Heatwave as a chance


The German government is concerned that short-term coal plant closures might lead to expensive compensation claims by operators, reports Klaus Stratmann in business daily Handelsblatt in a double-page article. A utility source said “we will see each other in court” if the government resorts to ordering short-term closures. Unnamed officials said the government was looking at operator Uniper’s proposal to transfer lignite plants into a security standby as one possible option for organising the phase-out. 
Experts disagree over the risk of compensation claims, according to the article. The director of Bochum University’s institute for mining and energy law, Johann-Christian Pielow, told Handelsblatt long-term closure agreements are key to avoiding court battles. “I believe coal plant closures before 2020 without compensation are impossible,” Pielow said. “If the government wants a fast coal exit, it has to offer money.” But last year, a study by law firm Becker Büttner Held (BBH) said the government can close plants older than 25 years with a grace period of one year, without having to pay compensation. The Green Party has also said particularly old lignite plants can be taken off grid even before 2020 without compensation payments.

Read the article in German here.

Find plenty of background on the coal commission in the article Commission watch – Managing Germany’s coal phase-out.

dpa / Die Welt

The Rhenish lignite mining district plans to present in the coming weeks its programme for adjusting structurally to a phase-out of coal, according to a dpa article carried by Die Welt. The coal-exit commission, established by the federal government, has been tasked with submitting proposals for structural adjustment for lignite-mining regions by the end of October, the article says. The district’s draft plan highlights three areas in which the region could focus to adjust to a coal phase-out: energy, innovation and research, and infrastructure and land use, according to the article.

Read the article in German here.

For background, read the article Commission watch – Managing Germany’s coal phase-out and the factsheets Germany’s coal exit commission and Germany’s three lignite mining regions.


This summer’s heatwave should finally make people feel the meaning of global warming and understand that we urgently need to fight it, writes Maike Brülls in a commentary in taz newspaper. “Let’s see the summer 2018 as an opportunity. Let’s keep cool (excuse the pun) and think about what can be done about climate change – even if we’re quite late. Obviously, humans have to experience a certain amount of suffering before they start to act.” Everybody can contribute to fighting climate change with lifestyle decisions, or by protesting against lignite mining, writes Brülls. It might not be enough to save the world, “but this summer has made it clear: We have to try, and we have to do it now”. 
In a different commentary in the newspaper, Charlotte Wiedemann writes that “many people get scared in this never-ending summer for the first time […] With silent power, climate change has entered our front gardens”.

Read the commentary in German here.

Clean Energy Wire / ZEW

A panel of 180 energy market experts is expecting energy prices to rise over the next five years, a survey by research institute Centre for European Economic Research (ZEW) has found. In its “Energy Market Barometer,” 80 percent of participants expect wholesale power prices to increase, 60 percent expect natural gas prices to increase but only 30 percent believe that coal prices are going to go up, while 44 percent expect prices for coal to stagnate globally. Fifty-six percent of energy experts suggest that CO2 allowances under the European Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) will rise above 20 euro per tonne CO2 in the next five years.

Read the survey in German here.

dpa / Handelsblatt

Discount supermarket chain Aldi Süd is equipping 28 of its branches along major traffic routes in Germany with electric vehicle charging stations, according to a dpa article carried by Handelsblatt. The move represents a shift from the group’s focus on building charging stations in urban areas, according to the company. “Until now, we have concentrated on metropolitan areas and inner cities. Now, we are also making it possible for our customers to plan their holiday trips with us,” Florian Kempf, head of energy management at Aldi Süd, said at the opening of a new charging station off the A5 motorway in Hesse.

Read the article in German here.

For background, read the dossier The energy transition and Germany’s transport sector and the article Germany’s car-loving transport minister faces clean mobility challenge.

dpa / Frankfurter Neue Presse

The first German test track of an overhead power (catenary) line connected to electric trucks is almost complete, according to a dpa article carried by Frankfurter Neue Presse. The line is being built on a motorway between Frankfurt and Darmstadt with funds provided by the federal government, the article says. Roughly five kilometres long, the test track is expected to be operational by the end of November, with a field trial due to begin in early 2019, according to the article.

Read the article in German here.

For background, read the dossier Cargo transport and the energy transition and the factsheet Road freight emissions in Germany.

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