31 October 2019

German government dawdling on coal exit law allows Uniper to bring Datteln 4 coal plant online

BERLIN, 31 October 2019  –  Energy company Uniper has announced that its highly controversial Datteln 4 coal-powered plant will go online in January 2020, thus ignoring the proposal of Germany’s coal commission [1]. The decision is an embarrassing development for the German government, which after months of delays and negotiations over possible compensation payments for utilities has still not put the recommendations of its coal commission into law.

“Germany is the EU’s largest greenhouse gas emitter and must phase out all coal from its electricity sector by 2030 to be able to respect the UN Paris climate agreement. Allowing Datteln 4 to go online not only undermines the coal commission’s already inadequate coal exit proposal, it also shows how unprepared the German government is to answer the call for climate action made by the 1.4 million people that took to the streets in Germany during the Global Climate Strikes in September. None of these people will believe they have been heard by their government,” said Kathrin Gutmann, Europe Beyond Coal campaign director.

Uniper has long held [2] that the German coal commission’s recommendation of a 2038 total coal phase-out justifies the introduction of its 1.1 gigawatt, 1.5 billion euro plant, despite the commission’s explicit recommendation that no new coal power plants should go online. Germany is the only country in Europe to announce a coal phase out that is not Paris-compliant [3].



Kathrin Gutmann, Campaign Director, Europe Beyond Coal (German, English)
[email protected], + 49 (0) 1577 836 3036

Alastair Clewer, Communications Officer, Europe Beyond Coal
[email protected], +49 176 433 07 185



  1. German Coal Commission Final Report, page 62: “For power stations already built but not yet in operation, the Commission recommends that a negotiated solution be sought in order not to bring these power stations into operation.”
  2. https://af.reuters.com/article/energyOilNews/idAFL8N20Z1JG
  3. Europe Beyond Coal, National coal phase out briefing (Oct 2019).
  4. Article by UN Secretary General António Guterres calling for no new coal plants by 2020.
  5. More information​ on how a coal phase-out is central to Germany meeting its commitments under the Paris Climate Agreement.
  6. Assessment of German coal commission’s final report.



Europe Beyond Coal is an alliance of civil society groups working to catalyse the closures of coal mines and power plants, prevent the building of any new coal projects and hasten the just transition to clean, renewable energy and energy efficiency. Our groups are devoting their time, energy and resources to this independent campaign to make Europe coal free by 2030 or sooner. www.beyond-coal.eu


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