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Swedish Company Vattenfall Selling Coal Plants to Czech-Based EPH

The Swedish energy company Vattenfall is selling four coal plants that it owns in Germany to a Czech-based energy provider, EPH that already has a German presence.

Sweden says that the sale is to comply with global greenhouse gas emission standards, although there seems to be confusion as to how selling the mines — as opposed to closing them — will reduce overall emissions. At the same time, EPH is betting that Germany will continue to use coal — a country that has vowed to incorporate a greater level of green energies.

“They’re speculating on brown-coal power generation’s long-term acceptance by German society (and) on continued support for the industry from politicians, and on its continuing to be profitable,” says Hermann Falk chief executive of the German Renewable Energy Association, in an interview with the publication DW.

As for Vattenfall, it is owned entirely by the Swedish government, which has forbidden it from opening up any new coal mines, says DW. It can only operate the mines it now has, which will be exhausted by 2030, the paper adds. EPH, by extension, is taking a risk: If governments are serious about cutting their greenhouse gases and keeping global temperatures to 2 degrees Celsius, it will have made a terrible gamble.

DW reports that Germany is on track to meet its green energy goals, having exceeded 30 percent of the country’s total generation in the first half of 2015. However, its overarching aim of cutting carbon levels by 40 percent by 2020 from 1990 levels is in jeopardy.

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