EU Urges Germany's Profit-Based Payout for Coal Phaseout

EU Urges Germany's Profit-Based Payout for Coal Phaseout

Lena Schmidt
2 min read

EU Propels Germany towards Profit-Based Mechanism for Coal Mine Shutdown Payout

The European Union is urging Germany to adopt a profit-based mechanism for a €1.75 billion payout linked to the premature closure of operations at Lausitz Energie Bergbau AG (LEAG), the country's second-largest coal miner. The European Commission has provisionally approved up to €1.2 billion for the EPH Group AG, owned by Czech billionaire Daniel Kretinsky, with the remaining amount dependent on the future profitability of the assets. This initiative is part of Germany's endeavors to expedite the phasing out of coal from its energy portfolio in order to comply with more stringent emissions targets. Negotiations with LEAG are underway, potentially advancing the coal exit from 2038 to 2030, mirroring a similar agreement with RWE AG, which is set to receive €2.6 billion for a 2030 phaseout. However, the final decision on the payment is still pending from the European Commission.

Key Takeaways

  • The EU calls for a profit-based backstop to a €1.75 billion payout for early coal mine shutdown in Germany.
  • The European Commission approves up to €1.2 billion state payment to Czech billionaire's EPH Group AG, with the remaining €550 million contingent on the future profitability of Lausitz Energie Bergbau AG assets.
  • Germany seeks to accelerate coal phaseout to meet emissions reduction targets, engaging in negotiations with LEAG for an earlier closure.
  • If LEAG shuts down plants prematurely due to an unprofitable outlook, subsidy payments would be diminished.


The EU's advocacy for a profit-based payout mechanism in Germany's coal phaseout signifies a strategic shift towards more rigorous emissions targets. This development directly impacts the financial landscape of LEAG and EPH Group AG, with profound implications tied to asset profitability. In the short term, LEAG confronts operational adjustments and potential financial strain if profitability wanes, impacting regional economies reliant on coal. In the long term, this maneuver expedites Germany's transition to cleaner energy, shaping global climate policy and potentially establishing a precedent for other coal-dependent nations. The profitability condition ensures judicious utilization of public funds, harmonizing economic and environmental objectives.

Did You Know?

  • Lausitz Energie Bergbau AG (LEAG): A significant coal mining entity in Germany, ranking as the second largest in size. It plays a pivotal role in Germany's energy sector and is undergoing substantial restructuring due to environmental policies aimed at reducing coal usage.
  • EPH Group AG: A Czech energy conglomerate owned by billionaire Daniel Kretinsky. It operates across various energy sectors in Central Europe, including coal, and is a key participant in energy transition discussions in the region.
  • Profit-Based Mechanism: A financial arrangement in which payments or subsidies are contingent upon the profitability of a business or project. In this context, it denotes that the EU's payout to LEAG hinges on the financial performance of its assets post-coal phaseout, ensuring the efficient and effective use of funds.

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