Europe takes Germany and UK to task over coal-fired power plant issues

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The European Commission is threatening fines over issues connected to coal-fired power plants in both Germany and the UK.

A coal-fired power plant, run by Vattenfall, in Hamburg has been referred to the European Court of Justice for failure to develop alternative cooling processes in order to protect wildlife.

Moorburg power plant, which commenced operations in early March, has been ordered to find an alternative arrangement as its present towers threaten protected fish species.
Moorburg coal-fired power plant
"The species are harmed by the water abstraction process used to cool the power plant," the EU executive noted in a statement, adding when authorizing the plant, Germany failed to carry out assessments required by the Habitats Directive, a nature legislation adopted in 1992.

"We see our chances (of winning) as good as we think we have good arguments on our side," he said.

The Hamburg agency comes under the Berlin environment ministry which is targeted by the EU action. A spokeswoman for Vattenfall said, "We are not the subject of this process. We have a valid operating license."

Meanwhile the Commission is taking the UK to Court for failing to reduce emissions at Aberthaw coal-fired power plant in Wales.

The plant has been pinpointed as exceeding the limits of the toxic pollutant nitrogen dioxide (NOx).

It said in a statement: “The Commission welcomes more recent indications from the UK authorities that investments will be made to upgrade the plant but at present the plant continues to operate under a permit which allows it to emit high levels of the toxic gas NOx. The Commission is therefore referring this case to Court.”

A UK government spokesperson told Power Engineering International:“Aberthaw Power Station is investing to meet future emission limits set by the EU. It would be inappropriate to comment on this case further while infraction proceedings are underway.”

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