EPH’s takeover of Vattenfall’s lignite assets should ring alarm bells in Berlin and Stockholm

Open-pit lignite mine in the Rhineland, Germany (photo 350.org)

By taking over the German lignite assets of Vattenfall, Czech utility EPH shows it believes in the future of lignite in Germany. This raises questions for the German government about its climate policies - and for the Swedish government which has to decide on the deal, writes Julian Schwartzkopff, researcher at energy and climate think tank E3G. … [Read more...]

Buying  Vattenfall’s lignite business could be a risky bet

Jänschwalde (photo Michael Lehmann, 2013)

Vattenfall is currently looking for a buyer for its German lignite assets. However, any potential investor faces a high risk that they will find themselves forced to wind down the business before earning back their investment, write Julian Schwartzkopff and Sabrina Schulz of international environmental organisation E3G. In this article, a shortened version of their new report Vattenfall’s Lignite Business – a Risky Bet for Investors, they explain … [Read more...]

RWE sets up its lignite plants for a taxpayer bail-out

Lignite open-pit mining at Garzweiler (Credit: Henning Mühlinghaus via Flickr)

German utility RWE has kept uneconomic lignite plants open with the explicit intention of securing a public bail-out, argue Julian Schwartzkopff, Chris Littlecott and Sabrina Schulz at E3G. It would apear the energy giant has taken a bet on being “too big to fail” that might just pay off: RWE is set to be the biggest beneficiary of a new 2.7GW capacity reserve in Germany which will pay lignite plants for going on standby. The alternative, a … [Read more...]