German lignite operator rejects media report on excessive compensation
dpa / Spiegel / Clean Energy Wire
Eastern German lignite mine and power plant operator LEAG has rejected a report by German weekly Der Spiegel about excessive compensation payments for the shutdown of coal operations, writes news agency dpa. Citing a paper by research and consultancy organisation Institute for Applied Ecology (Öko-Institut) Spiegel reported that the shutdown schedule for lignite plants recently agreed to by the federal government, states and coal operators comes very close to what former owner Vattenfall had envisioned for its operations in Lusatia in plans from 2016. Thus, up to 1.75 billion euros in compensation could be paid for naught, Spiegel wrote. LEAG calls the claims “unfounded”, and says the company’s official plans up until the new agreement were based on a concept from 2017 (Lausitzer Revierkonzept).
The agreed 4.35 billion euros in compensation payments for lignite operators are among the most contentious points of the coal exit agreement. News of the amount has led to rising share prices for western German lignite operator RWE. The Öko-Institut paper, seen by Clean Energy Wire, compares an internal 2016 business plan by Vattenfall, the former owner of the lignite operations in the Lusatian region, with the phase-out agreement signed in January 2020. For the period until 2030 – for which the government foresees compensation payments – differences in the two plans cancel each other out as some plants will be shut down earlier than planned and others later. Czech investor EPH agreed to buy Vattenfall’s lignite operations in 2016, which are now run by LEAG.