German auction agrees terms to close 533 MW of coal power

* Main closure Uniper’s 510 MW Staudinger 5 hard coal plant

* Tenders until 2027 will offer funds for closures Fourth auction, next set for March 1, 2022

FRANKFURT, Dec 15 (Reuters) - Germany has agreed terms with utilities to close down 533 megawatts (MW) of coal-fired power generation, its network regulator said on Wednesday, as the country moves to cleaner energy.

Germany has pledged to ideally abandon coal by 2030 and achieve a mostly carbon-free energy system by 2050, while trying to lessen the impact on utilities, regions, employment and the budget.

Under a series of tenders between 2020 and 2027, operators are asked to declare at which price they would be prepared to shut their coal plants in return for funds to offset some of their losses.

After 2027, compensation will no longer be available.

The regulator sets a maximum price per MW of capacity to cap the public sector bill.

The ultimate price takes into account bidders’ offers and the CO2 emissions of the plants in question.

The plants identified in the latest auction - which earmarks supply to go offline by May 22, 2023 - includes Uniper’s Staudinger 5 hard coal plant of 510 MW and two small units operated by food producer Pfeifer & Langen.

Bids had ranged between 75,000 and 116,000 euros per MW, the latter being the maximum the regulator had allowed.

Wednesday’s was the fourth auction held and the next one will take place on March 1, 2022.

Under the rules, if power grid operators object to the move and demand that system-relevant plants stay open, they will be moved to standby operations and support networks during bottlenecks in return for a fee. (Reporting by Vera Eckert, editing by Jason Neely)