German Uniper offers to shut old coal plants in return for new station – media report
Energy company Uniper may offer to either shut down all its coal plants or switch them to gas and, in turn, bring the new Datteln 4 hard coal unit online, sources told Rheinische Post. A Uniper spokesperson said: “We will only be able to comment once the situation has been clarified, particularly in the form of a law.” The company had always made clear it wanted to “constructively contribute to the coal exit”, and that lowering CO₂ emissions was best done with modern technology.
Uniper operates coal plants with a capacity of 3,800 megawatt (MW) at five locations across Germany, writes Rheinische Post. The Datteln 4 coal plant has long been a point of contention. Proponents like NRW state premier Armin Laschet say it will help in shutting down older and dirtier plants quicker, but eastern state premiers have said this would run counter to their understanding of the coal exit roadmap that plants in the west are to go offline first. Uniper began building the plant in 2007 and the unit was originally scheduled to be operational in 2011. The project was delayed several times, however, and ended up costing 1.5 billion euros. The government greenlit the plant's commissioning in October, irking environmental groups who oppose putting online a new plant when the country is on the way to exit coal. A Uniper spokesperson said: "We are confident that the unit will be operational by summer 2020."