25 Oct 2019, 14:06
Freja Eriksen

RWE rejects analysis flagging 1 billion euro coal plant losses in 2019

Reuters / Clean Energy Wire

German energy company RWE rejected an analysis by financial think tank Carbon Tracker saying the German power firm would face nearly 1 billion euros of losses related to its coal-fired power plants this year, reports news agency Reuters. “The numbers and assumptions do not stand up to the facts. They are wrong and cannot form the basis for a serious assessment,” an RWE spokesman said. The analysis said that four in five coal plants in the European Union are unprofitable and utilities face losses of nearly 6.6 billion euros this year. Coal has come under severe economic pressure across the EU due to the lower costs of renewables and natural gas. Carbon Tracker said Germany is among the most exposed member states, and RWE faces the biggest losses, calculated at 975 million euros in 2019. RWE is currently in negotiations with the government in regards to compensation payments for coal plants that are taken off the grid early as a result of the government's decision to phase out coal-fired power generation by 2038. The company has said it would claim between 1.2 and 1.5 billion euros from the state for every gigawatt (GW) that is shut down early. But according to Carbon Tracker, the utility's coal units "are worthless without a dramatic change to the energy complex".

In the EU as a whole, Carbon Tracker estimates that 79 percent of coal generators are operating at a loss. Based on price developments, the think tank foresees that no coal-fired power generation will exist in the EU by 2030 "without being heavily subsidised" – a time estimate the researchers add could be "too conservative".

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