RWE wants coal phase-out compensation paid quickly

FRANKFURT, Aug 21 (Reuters) - German utility RWE wants compensation from the government for phasing out coal power generation to be paid out as quickly as possible, it said on Friday.

“RWE wants to ensure that the contract negotiated with the government can be signed immediately because first power plant closures are to take place at RWE as early as the end of the year, unlike at other operators,” a company spokeswoman said.

Germany’s lower house of parliament is expected to approve the relevant bill next month.

The bill pledges to pay out 50 billion euros ($59 billion) to help mining companies, power plant operators and affected regions cope with Germany’s transition to more renewable energy. The country has committed to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 55% by 2030 from 1990 levels.

RWE is due to receive 2.6 billion euros for the phased closure of its brown coal mines and power stations.

Earlier, the Spiegel magazine’s online edition reported RWE wanted to revisit the deal to start receiving the funds as Czech peer Leag continued to question the package.

However, the spokeswoman said RWE was fully behind the deal.

A spokesman for Leag, which is part of the EPH group, declined to comment on whether it was seeking changes to the coal exit bill.

While phasing out coal generation, RWE is expanding in renewable power where it became Europe’s third-largest player after an asset swap deal with rival E.ON.

$1 = 0.8476 euros Reporting by Vera Eckert; Editing by Mark Potter