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Greenpeace Exploring Possibility To Purchase Vattenfall Coal Assets

Following Vattenfall AB’s decision to put some of its coal operations in Germany up for sale, one would assume that there’d be interest. Who could have guessed that some of that interest would be from Greenpeace, though?

As it stands, Greenpeace is apparently exploring its options to purchase the German lignite operations from the state-owned (Swedish) company, according to the head of Greenpeace in Sweden, Annika Jacobson — with the stated intent being to shut the operations down.

Greenpeace Logo

Altogether, the mines + plants (possessing a capacity of over 8000 megawatts/MW) are valued at €2–3 billion, according to Landesbank Baden-Wuerttemberg analyst Rodger Rinke. The value was listed as 15.2 billion kroner by the company towards the end of July — owing to dropping power prices.

“There are many ways to finance such an acquisition and we are looking at those,” Jacobson commented. The company “may also look at the possibility of buying strategic parts.”

That’s still quite a lot of money, though. According to a spokesperson for Greenpeace by the name of Juha Aromaa, the organization could possibly fund the purchase via a combination of crowdfunding, donor money, and other finance streams.

“Mostly, we would believe it would be our supporters who would be interested in such an acquisition to save the climate,” he stated.

Bloomberg provides more detail:

The process of finding a buyer will be “open,” Sabine Froning, a spokeswoman for Vattenfall, said in an e-mailed statement on Tuesday. “All serious bids are welcome.”

Greenpeace may want to force a binding statement of the German government on the remaining life of the country’s lignite plants, Guido Hoymann, an analyst at B. Metzler Seel Sohn & Co. KGaA, said by phone from Frankfurt.

“Only when that’s clear, can a value be seriously determined, and then there will possibly be a buyer willing to pay this value,” he said.

The Nordic region’s largest utility is trying to adjust its portfolio of power plants to focus on renewable energy. All its lignite generation and mining assets in Germany will be included in the sale, such as the Boxberg, Jaenschwalde and Schwarze Pumpe power plants and corresponding mines. The company, under pressure from the Swedish government to exit coal-fired power generation in Germany, is facing sliding electricity prices in the Nordic region as well as several billions of kronor of writedowns related to its operations in countries from the Netherlands to Germany.

“Vattenfall and the Swedish government must take their responsibility also for emissions outside Sweden’s borders,” The head at Greenpeace Sweden continued. “If they don’t, we must handle the matter. The brown coal must stay in the ground.”

Interesting case. We’ll keep you posted if it develops in any interesting directions.

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Written By

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy.


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