Dutch court denies compensation to RWE and Uniper

In an important and highly anticipated decision, The Hague District Court denied compensation to two German energy companies, RWE and Uniper, owners of three Dutch coal-fired energy plants, for the Dutch phase-out of coal as fuel to generate electricity (the Prohibition of Coal in Electricity Act). RWE and Uniper believed that the law should not have been introduced without proper compensation and thus violated the Dutch law regarding infringement on private property. The court ruled that although this law infringes on the right of ownership, this infringement is not unlawful. The measures taken by the government to reduce CO₂ emissions have been proportionate, and the interests of the owners have been sufficiently taken into account. Importantly, the court considered the measures foreseeable in that such a ban would be imposed if the emissions from the plants were not reduced very sharply before 2020. This judgment is likely to create an important precedent for similar measures around the world. It will also likely diminish the value of arguments that fossil fuel energy operators must be compensated for energy transition measures.