Nobody knows the details of the Berlin €4bn coal phase-out deal with energy companies

German energy companies LEAG and RWE are set to receive over €4 billion for closing their lignite-fired power plants. But nobody knows how the compensation was calculated and the German economy ministry refuses to provide details, citing procedural matters.

A shadow hangs over Germany’s coal phase-out law, which is due to be voted in the German Bundestag on Friday (3 July).

Just a few hours before MPs are supposed to vote on the bill, the Higher Administrative Court of Berlin-Brandenburg rejected yesterday (2 July) an urgent motion tabled by green campaigners who requested access to the documents containing the details of the government’s deal with operators of lignite power plants.

Referring to the German Environmental Information Act, environmental lawyers ClientEarth and the internet platform FragDenStaat, wanted to know what criteria was used to calculate the compensation offered to energy firms in exchange for their commitment to close the country’s remaining lignite-fired power plants.

The deal was negotiated behind closed doors by the economy ministry led by Peter Altmaier (CDU) together with energy companies RWE and LEAG.

But the ministry refused to provide the details of the deal, arguing that the obligation to provide information did not apply to documents which are part of a legislative process, an argument the court agreed to yesterday.

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