“In the context of the European Green Deal the phasing-out of coal fired power plants can crucially contribute to the transformation to a climate-neutral economy which is good,” EU Commission Executive Vice-President for Competition Policy Margrethe Vestager said. “At the same time, Member States may need to compensate these companies in line with the national and EU State aid rules,” she added.
On December 11, 2019, the Netherlands adopted a law prohibiting the use of coal for the production of electricity as of 1 January 2030 at the latest. Whilst four coal fired power plants were granted a transition period of five to ten years, the Hemweg plant had to close before January 1, 2020, which resulted in commercial losses for the company running the plant, the Commission said. The law gave Hemweg the possibility to request a compensation for its early closure and the government agreed with the company to limit this compensation to €52.5 million.
The Commission said the contribution to EU environmental and climate goals of the measure outweighs any potential distortion of competition and trade brought about by the support. On this basis, the Commission approved the measure under EU State aid rules. :Our assessment concluded that the Dutch compensation measure to the coal fired power plant Hemweg due to its early closure, does not unduly distort the competition in the EU’s Single Market,” Vestager said.