‘Not appropriate’: Uniper seeks compensation for Dutch coal phase-out

(EurActiv, 22 May 2020) Uniper is threatening to sue the Dutch government over a plan to phase out coal power by 2030, in a case experts warn could have a chilling effect on climate ambition internationally. EURACTIV’s media partner, Climate Home News, reports.

A law passed in December will force the German energy company to close Maasvlakte 3 coal plant, near Rotterdam, less than 15 years after it opened, or convert it to run on a different fuel. It forms part of a strategy to cut the Netherlands’ greenhouse gas emissions 49% from 1990 levels by 2030.

The company is seeking a reported €1 billion in compensation under the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT), a pact signed in the 1990s to boost investment flows between western and post-Soviet countries.

Uniper wrote to the government on 18 December, seeking an “amicable settlement” and could go to arbitration if no agreement is reached.

Asked about the case at Uniper’s AGM, held virtually on Wednesday, chief executive Andreas Schierenbeck said: “We reserve legal possibilities to secure shareholders’ interests. We believe that the [Netherlands] coal phase-out in its current form is not appropriate.” He declined to comment on the level of compensation sought.