Author Archive: Gerard Wynn

Energy Finance Consultant Gerard Wynn is a U.K.-based 10-year veteran of energy and economics reporting at the Thomson Reuters News Agency and has authored numerous papers on energy issues ranging from solar power in Great Britain to coal-burning in China and India. He blogs at EnergyandCarbon.com

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IEEFA Europe: Blueprint for a Lignite Phase-Out in Germany

IEEFA Europe: Blueprint for a Lignite Phase-Out in Germany

Foundation-Based Approach to Closure and Clean-Up; New Czech Owners of Vattenfall Assets in Lausitz Can Afford to Foot the Bill; a Timeline That Helps Local Communities Prepare for Transition

The recent “sale” by the Swedish state-owned utility Vattenfall of its German lignite assets throws a harsh light on a dark paradox: the continued use of the world’s most carbon-intensive fuel by a country with some of the most ambitious targets to tackle climate change. The deal transfers a cluster of lignite mines and their […]

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IEEFA Europe: New Blueprints by Energy Giants RWE and E.ON Face Market Test

Strategies That Raise Questions About the Future of Two Legacy Companies 


In reporting annual first-half results this week, Europe’s two biggest utilities offered some hints as strategies in which they have created new units to separate newer energy assets from older ones. At both E.ON and RWE, the newest energy units are built around renewable power, grid networks and retail sales, separate from fossil fuel energy […]

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IEEFA Europe: Behind Vattenfall’s Sell-Off of German Lignite Assets, a Subsidy Play by the Buyers


IEEFA Europe: Behind Vattenfall’s Sell-Off of German Lignite Assets, a Subsidy Play by the Buyers


An Acquisition Spree for Regulated Fossil-Fuel Assets That Are Supported by Guaranteed Payments


As the Swedish electric utility Vattenfall prepares to off-load its German lignite business to Czech investors, its second-quarter results on Thursday showed how the company—and lignite in particular—is suffering from lower Central European power prices. Vattenfall took the unusual step of breaking out separate results for its lignite business, ahead of its transfer of those […]

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IEEFA Europe: Weak Carbon Prices Are Fracturing EU Energy Policy. Here’s a Remedy.

IEEFA Europe: Weak Carbon Prices Are Fracturing EU Energy Policy. Here’s a Remedy.

Trend Toward Nationalization Thwarts Modernization of Electricity Markets and Coherent Action on Climate Change; Current Emissions-Trading Review Offers an Opportunity to Update Key Directive

Weakness in carbon prices—what industries are willing to pay for the right to pollute—are fracturing energy policy in Europe and hardening an East-West divide that puts regional unity and progress at risk. The gist of the rift can be distilled in the current state of the European Union emissions trading scheme, which was supposed to […]

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IEEFA Europe: The High Price of Nationalism—Brexit Means a Costly Step Back From Modern Electricity Markets

IEEFA Europe: The High Price of Nationalism—Brexit Means a Costly Step Back From Modern Electricity Markets

Switzerland, Damaged by Anti-Immigrant Policies, Is a Timely Reminder on the Pain of Self-Inflicted Wounds


The case of Switzerland hints at the shoals that post-Brexit Britain must now navigate, including trade in electricity, where countries clearly benefit from the very cross-border ties U.K. voters have rejected. Brexit, to put it bluntly, will leave the U.K. at an electricity market disadvantage. The U.K.-Swiss parallels are striking. Britain voted to leave the […]

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IEEFA Europe: Western Balkans Take a Step Away From Coal Power, and Toward the EU

Albania, Croatia and Kosovo Have Made Tentative Moves in Just the Past Week or So Toward Greener, More Integrated Electricity Markets

Albania, Croatia and Kosovo have made tentative steps in just the past week or so toward greener and more integrated market-driven electricity networks. We have argued before that the introduction of competitive electricity markets, coupled with greater cross-border connections and renewable power, is the way forward for the Western Balkans. Such an approach will help […]

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Europe: ‘Capacity Payments’ Provide a Lifeline to Costly Coal-Fired Generators

Europe: ‘Capacity Payments’ Provide a Lifeline to Costly Coal-Fired Generators

U.K. Case in Point: Subsidies Prop Up Increasingly Unviable Generators 


Call them what you will but “capacity payments” in the European utility industry today are looking more and more like subsidies to prop up a fading industry threatened by the rise of renewables. It’s an expensive arrangement that often rewards decrepit coal- and other fossil-fuel-fired power plants for waiting in the wings—not for generating electricity. […]

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In Coal Giveaway to Czech Energy Group, a Public-Relations Problem for a Swedish Utility

In Coal Giveaway to Czech Energy Group, a Public-Relations Problem for a Swedish Utility

Vattenfall’s Plan to Gain Redemption by Gifting Its German Lignite Assets to EPH Improves Company’s Bottom Line But Undermines European Solidarity Toward Curbing Carbon Emissions

Efforts by the Swedish state-owned utility Vattenfall to neatly wash its hands of its German lignite business may yet backfire. At issue are Vattenfall’s coal mines and coal-burning power plants in Germany—or more specifically the disposition of those assets, which grow less appealing both financially and politically day by day with the rise of cleaner […]

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Mounting Risks of Impairments Globally in Coal Investments

Mounting Risks of Impairments Globally in Coal Investments

A Rising Likelihood of Stranded Assets in Japan, China, and Around the World

Changes sweeping the electricity sectors in Japan and China suggest a hugely uncertain future for coal-fired power and a rapidly increasing risk of stranded assets. New research shows growing over-capacity in these markets, likely complications from regulation and rising competition from lower-cost renewable power. Coupled with massive recent write-downs in coal-generation assets in Europe and […]

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A Test Now for the Western Balkans: Adhere to the Past or Embrace a New Energy Economy?

Entrenched Interests Are Ignoring a Crucial Stepping-Stone Toward EU Membership 


Emerging still from the civil wars that followed the collapse of Yugoslavia a generation ago, the six countries of the Western Balkans today face an unprecedented energy-policy moment. The essential question facing Albania, Bosnia, Kosovo, Macedonia and Montenegro, and Serbia: Whether to adhere to a costly coal-fired electricity-generation past or embrace the new global energy […]

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