German power firm wants compensation for closure of Dutch coal-fired power station


German energy supplier Uniper is asking for financial compensation for the closure of the MPP3 coal-fired electricity plant on Rotterdam’s Maasvlakte port area.

Uniper has told economic affairs minister Eric Wiebes that the forced early closure of the plant should be compensated, the Financieele Dagblad reported on Friday.

The MPP3 plant came on stream in 2016 when it was clear that coal-fired power stations had no future. In his speech at the opening of the MPP3, Mark Dierikx, director-general of the ministry’s energy department noted that the ban on coal-fired electricity plants was ‘obvious’.

In the letter, which was obtained by the FD from energy expert Remco de Boer, Uniper said the forced closure was illegal. The German utility said there was ‘no just balance’ between reaching the Dutch state’s CO2 reduction goals on the one hand and Uniper’s rights as owner of the power plant on the other.

At one point the figure of €1.6bn was suggested as proper compensation on the grounds that MPP3 was a relatively clean operation and that closure of coal-fired plants would make the Dutch electricity market too dependent upon gas.

Alternative sources

A spokesman for Wiebes would neither confirm nor deny knowing about the letter from Uniper. He stressed that the minister could not discuss the closure of coal-fired electricity plants in the discussion about energy production.

Wiebes is considering legislation which would permit coal-fired electricity plants to continue to operate but only if they were capable of switching to another method of generation.

For example, German energy producer RWE which owns Dutch supplier Essent is planning to use biomass as a future fuel at its coal-fired plant in the Eemshaven in northern Groningen province which was opened in 2015. And RWE’s Amercentrale plant in Noord-Brabant province, will eventually fuel 80% of its output with wood chips.

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