Energy Startup Vandebron Bids €1 Million On Dutch Coal Power Plant To Turn It Into Theme Park

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The small Dutch energy company Vandebron, which allows consumers to buy their renewable energy directly from local producers on an online marketplace, has offered utility Nuon €1 million for its coal-fired power plant in Amsterdam. After the purchase, the energy startup wants to shut the plant down and turn it into a theme park.

Impression of what coal power plant Hemweg 8 could look like.

The installation, Hemweg 8 in Amsterdam, is according to Greenpeace the second oldest and most inefficient coal power plant out of 5 plants currently active in the Netherlands. With a capacity of 630 MW, the facility burns 50 kilograms of coal every second and emits 4.5 megaton of C02 annually, which is said to roughly match the carbon footprint of 1.3 million cars.

Utility Nuon does want to get rid of the power plant, which it says can still be operated until the year 2034, but only in a way that does not put too large of a burden on its financial position. After the plant missed out on a subsidy for biomass co-firing, the company announced it started looking to either 1) close the plant (if the Dutch government would be willing to account for part of the costs), or 2) sell it off to some third party.

After Vandebron announced the offer, Nuon rejected the offer so quickly that it is clear the company never even seriously considered it. Nuon gave a delegation from the peer-to-peer energy startup a tour of the plant, but it views the €1 million bid as a publicity stunt and is leaving it at that. Nuon has played the employment card, proclaiming that €1 million is insufficient to compensate the 200 people currently working in the power plant.

That doesn’t seem to be the end of the story, though. Just this morning, the municipality of Amsterdam stated that it is willing to double Vandebron’s bid, to €2 million. On top of that, chocolate brand Tony’s Chocolonely announced it is also willing to contribute €1 million. With a petition launched by P2P pioneers Vandebron, pressure to concede is building up on utility Nuon. …

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