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Chronology VEAG/Laubag (Lausitz)

1789

First lignite deposits found in Lusatia (Lausitz)

1844

Coal mining for industrial use starts in Spremberg

1871

First briquette factory is constructed in Senftenberg

1909

Construction of the first large power plant in Hirschfelde

1917

Construction start for Lauta power plant to supply a nearby aluminium smelter, where light metals are produced for World War I

1924

World’s first conveyor bridge starts operating near Plessa

1935

A new factory in Schwarzheide ensures independence from oil imports by producing synthetic gasoline out of lignite for the Second World War

1942

Growing need for electricity during World War II results in a 'Steam power crash programme' with 15 newly planned power plants (total capacity: 4,500 MV). However none of them is connected until 1945, only two plants start operating in the 1950s

1945

End of World War II. The USSR removes 15 briquette factories, 4,000 MV plant capacity and technical equipment from 11 open-cast mines as reparations 

1946

Successful referendum to nationalise lignite industries on the 30 June

1948

First half-year plan to restore economic activity in the Soviet Zone (later GDR) sees iron and steel production and coal mining as the main tasks

1950

GDR Parliament resolution on 30 September to increase electric capacity up to 196% through new power plants (capacity: 6,500 MW) and expansion of existing plants

1955

The Schwarze Pumpe combine (=group of factories in the same industry) is established as the world's largest industrial complex for the refining of lignite into briquettes, high-temperature lignite coke and town gas

1957

A GDR coal and energy programme is the base for additional power plants and open-cast mines in Lusatia

1972/73

More than 100 power plant employees from the GDR learn about 500-MW  technologies at the Soviet Slawjansk power plant to work with ten new 500-MW units in Hagenwerder, Boxberg and Jänschwalde

1975

USSR oil price increases shock the GDR. To safeguard energy supply, lignite becomes the primary energy carrier, which makes the country the world’s largest coal producer (about 300 million t/a) – with drastic effects on the environment

1980

Founding of the Senftenberg lignite combine (BKK, predecessor of LAUBAG) and the Peitz lignite-fired power plant combine (KBK, predecessor of VEAG)

1989

Fall of the Berlin Wall on 9 November 1989 marks the end of socialist planned economy and constitutes radical changes in Lusatia. 108,000 people are employed in plants and mines. But in the business divition Lignithe founded 2001as a part of Vattenfall Europe there are only 8,275 employees.

1990

The power companies PreussenElektra och Bayernwerk (which later became E.ON) reach an agreement with the last East Germany government to take over the majority share of the East German power industry. For this reason, the companies VEAG and Laubag are founded.

1991

The new VEAG (Vereinigte Energiewerke) is established with 29,000 employees and ten lignite, four gas and eight hydropower plants

1991

Drastic staff cutbacks at LAUBAG and VEAG come along with a 'social charter': senior management and works council agree on a framework social plan

1992

Demonstration in Hoyerswerda on 28 February: 35,000 power plant workers and miners require a continuation concept for coal and energy sectors in eastern Germany

1994

Since 1989, coal mining, briquette production and electricity sales have regressed dramatically; gas and coke production is halted

2001

The HEW (Hamburgische Electricitäts-Werke), a subsidiary of Vattenfall, purchases the majority of VEAG’s shares 

2002

VEAG merges with HEW, LAUBAG and BEWAG to form Vattenfall Europe

2006

Cornerstone laid for a CCS pilot plant in Schwarze Pumpe, with Chancellor Angela Merkel in attendance, on 29 May

2008

Commissioning of the CCS Pilot plant for CO2 separation on 9 September

2010

Reichwalde open-cast mine reopens after a seven-year shutdown

2012

Official commissioning of Unit R in Boxberg on 11 October

2016

The lignite business is sold to Czech company EPH and its financial partner PPF. The deal included the power plants Jänschwalde, Boxberg, Schwarze Pumpe and Lippendorf R, as well as the open-cast mines Reichwalde, Welzow-Süd, Nochten, Jänschwalde  and Cottbus-Nord (closed in 2015).

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