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29 Apr 2019, 13:46
Rachel Waldholz

German utility RWE cancels plans for lignite power station, says no more new coal plants

Clean Energy Wire / Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

German utility RWE announced this week that it was cancelling plans to build a new coal-fired power plant in the western German state of North Rhine-Westphalia and would no longer build new coal plants. “In the future, RWE will focus on electricity generation from renewable energy sources. Consequently, the company will no longer invest in new coal-fired power stations,” the company said in a press release (Read the full release in English here). The project, called BOAplus, was originally planned as a 1,100 MW lignite power station to replace older, less efficient units at the company’s site in the city of Bergheim. The company says “market conditions […] did not allow for the project to be realised in the last years.”
The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) reports that the decision was prompted by this spring’s report from Germany’s coal commission, which recommended that Germany phase out coal entirely by 2038. “It took a while, but now RWE has realised that new coal-fired power plants in Germany no longer have a future,” Helmut Bünder writes in the FAZ. “With the report of the coal commission…the project was not only economically but also politically finished.”
The RWE press release does not mention the coal commission’s report. In a statement included in the release, CEO Rolf Martin Schmitz says the company, which was built largely on coal, now believes its future lies beyond coal power. “New coal-fired power stations no longer have a place in our future-oriented strategy,” Schmitz stresses, noting that once RWE completes a planned asset swap with the utility E.ON, it will become “one of the world’s leading renewable energy players.”

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