07 June 2021

Chemnitz-Nord lignite plant to close six years earlier than planned

BERLIN, 7 June 2021 – Germany’s Chemnitz-Nord lignite power plant will shut six years earlier than previously planned. Operator Eins Energie für Sachsen has decided to bring forward the closure of the plant’s last lignite unit to 2023 due to prohibitively high carbon permit prices. The plant is currently in the process of being converted to burn fossil gas.

Chemnitz lignite plant is closing six years earlier than planned because the operator has finally woken up to the fact that lignite is a financial liability. It’s time the German government concluded the same. There’s no justification for handing billions of euros in public money to lignite operators for their negligent business planning,” said Wiebke Witt, campaigner in Germany at Europe Beyond Coal. “Unfortunately, the operator has opted to pump more cash into would-be stranded assets: this time in the form of fossil gas. It’s a real missed opportunity for the city of Chemnitz, which would be perfectly placed to benefit from a renewables-based, future-proof heating solution.”

The decision to hasten the closure of the plant’s lignite units on financial grounds comes as the European Commission assesses whether the German government’s plan to compensate owners of lignite-fired power plants to the tune of 4.35 billion euros is in line with EU State aid rules [1]. The case is seen as a test of the European Commission’s determination to align its competition rules with the European Green Deal.

Germany is the only country in Europe to legislate a coal exit plan [2] that is incompatible with the UN Paris climate agreement, since it is supposed to be completed in 2038 [3]. However, the German government is likely to be forced to bring it forward after the country’s supreme constitutional court ruled that the government’s climate protection measures are insufficient, and must be strengthened in order to account for intergenerational climate justice [4].

 

Contacts:

Wiebke Witt, campaigner in Germany, Europe Beyond Coal (English) (German)
[email protected], +49 176 64977897

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

 

Notes:

  1. https://www.neweurope.eu/article/eu-probes-compensation-for-early-closure-of-lignite-fired-power-plants-in-germany/
  2. https://www.bundesrat.de/SharedDocs/drucksachen/2020/0301-0400/392-20.pdf?__blob=publicationFile&v=1
  3. Why Europe must phase-out coal by 2030 to respect the UN Paris climate agreement: https://climateanalytics.org/briefings/coal-phase-out/
  4. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/apr/29/historic-german-ruling-says-climate-goals-not-tough-enough

 

About:

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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