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14 May 2021, 14:16
Edgar Meza

Uniper agrees to consider early closure of controversial Datteln 4 coal plant

Reuters

German energy company Uniper has agreed to consider an earlier than planned shutdown of its controversial coal-fired power plant Datteln 4, Reuters reports. "Should future federal governments want to accelerate the coal phase-out to be implemented by 2038, we are always ready for solution-oriented discussions in order to find a fair balance of interests," new Uniper CEO Klaus-Dieter Maubach said in a speech planned for the company’s annual general meeting next week that was published in advance on Wednesday. The end of operation for the Datteln 4 plant would coincide with the end of coal-fired energy generation in Germany in 2038. As such, it has become a symbol for Germany’s coal phase-out – something Uniper is well aware of, according to Maubach.

The government this week agreed to intensify efforts to reduce CO2 emissions and cut greenhouse gas emissions by at least 65 percent compared to 1990 levels by 2030, up from the previous 55 percent target. According to climate think tank E3G, the new targets make a coal phaseout by 2030 inevitable.

Maubach said Uniper would operate the 1,100 megawatt plant, which was commissioned only a year ago, as long as economically possible and as long as German legislators allowed it. For an earlier closure, there must be a reconciliation of interests that provides a technically possible and economically competitive perspective for customers supplied with district heating or traction current from Datteln 4, Maubach added. In addition, an early shutdown must take the interests of plant employees into account and also include appropriate financial compensation.

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