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No breakthrough yet in German lignite compensation talks - ministry

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BERLIN (Reuters) – Talks between the German government and utilities over how to compensate the planned shutdown of the country’s lignite plants will carry on, a government spokeswoman said, with Berlin aiming to reach a resolution by the end of the year.

Germany in January unveiled plans to abandon coal-fired power plants by 2038, but the legal implementation has been lengthy and there is still no mechanism for how to pay utilities for the expected loss.

Plant operators and the government have been talking for months and the latest round of talks, which took place on Tuesday, ended without a result.

“Talks were constructive and intense. There will be further discussions. The aim is to find a consensual agreement on the exit from coal-fired power production,” the spokeswoman said.

Talks are closely-watched because whatever agreement is reached will likely provide utilities, including RWE <RWEG.DE>, Uniper, Leag and EnBW <EBKG.DE> with substantial payments for the early shutdown of their plants.

RWE, Germany’s largest electricity producer, has claimed 1.2-1.5 billion euros ($1.3-$1.7 billion) per gigawatt of lignite capacity it has to close early.

(Reporting by Markus Wacket; Writing by Christoph Steitz)

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