News Digest Item
09 Aug 2018

Government worried short-term coal plant closures will trigger compensation claims – report


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.

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