Vattenfall coal power asset sale approved by EU

Swedish state-owned utility Vattenfall has overcome a crucial obstacle in completing the sale of its lignite coal-fired power assets in Germany to Czech utility EPH.

The European Commission has ruled that no competition rules were breached in the sale of the company’s mining and power generation operations in the country.
The sale includes the Janschwalde, Boxberg and Schwarz Pumpe power plants and Vattenfall's 50% stake in the Lippendorf plant. It also includes the Janschwalde, Nochten, Welzow-Sud, Reichwalde and Cottbus Nord mines.

The European Commission said on Thursday that the deal would not impact competition in Germany's lignite mining, power generation or supply markets.

Platts reports that this was because specific types of lignite are supplied under long-term contracts to specific power stations, and cannot be easily substituted by other types.

The EC added that lignite would face "increasing competition" from other power generation fuels, such as natural gas, given Germany's continuing policies to cut emissions.

Swedish state-owned Vattenfall agreed the sale for an undisclosed amount in April as part of its efforts to cut its own emissions and focus more on renewable energy.

It expects the sale to cut its CO2 emissions from more than 80 million metric tonnes per year to less than 25 million mt/year.

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