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Swedish company Vattenfall has announced it will sell its German lignite assets to Czech energy group EPH, citing a commitment to sustainable energy. But the sale will likely slow Germany’s exit from coal power. Czech energy company EPH has agreed to acquire Swedish energy company Vattenfall’s four German coal plants and corresponding mining assets, which altogether employ around 7,500 employees and produce large amounts of greenhouse gases. EPH already owns some coal assets in Germany, including Mibrag mining company and the 352-megawatt Buschhaus coal-fired power plant, which emits 2.2 million tons of CO2 annually. The fate of Vattenfall’s coal assets has been a controversial topic in both Germany and Sweden. Coal miners and power plant workers have feared for their jobs as Germany shifted its long-term energy strategy towards renewable electricity generation. Environmentalists, on the other hand, demand that Germany hastens its turn away from coal power. Hermann Falk, CEO of the German Renewable Energy Association (BEE), told DW that EPH’s acquisition was a "highly speculative investment." "They’re speculating on brown-coal power generation’s long-term acceptance by German society, on continued support for the industry from politicians, and on its continuing to be profitable," he said. These are bold bets, […]

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