Germany’s new coal phase-out plan upsets country’s Coal Commission

(EurActiv, 22 Jan 2020) Shortly after Germany announced plans to shut down its lignite-fired power plants, eight members of the country’s Coal Commission voiced criticism that their work has been discredited and that these plans would result in an additional 40 million tons of CO2 emissions. EURACTIV Germany reports.

The eight members of the Commission, who represented environmental organisations, consider their coal-phase-out-plan, presented last year, to have been “de facto cancelled” by the government.

They said the timetable for shutting down lignite-fired power plants drawn up last week between the federal government and the affected states differs considerably from what the Coal Commission agreed after months of negotiations – although the government repeatedly emphasised its intention to stick to all the recommendations.

At a press conference of the eight Commission members, the president of the German League for Nature Conservation, Kai Niebert, said he could not believe the government had “accused” the coalition’s compromise, which had been laboriously balanced, “to feed the prime ministers of the federal states concerned”.

He said that the shutdown schedule would endanger social peace in Germany and that it discredited the Coal Commission’s work.

40 million additional tons of CO2

The German government only plans to take 1.3 gigawatts (GW) of lignite capacity off the grid between 2023 and 2028. To ensure this is achieved, significantly more capacities are to be shut down in 2028 and 2029, to reach a total reduction of 2.8 GW by 2030, even though the Coal Commission had proposed an even more significant reduction of 3.1 GW.

In 2026 and 2029, according to the government, a review will be carried out to determine whether it would be possible to phase out coal three years earlier, i.e. in 2035. And the shutdown of the hard coal piles is to be specified in tenders.

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EurActiv, 22 Jan 2020: Germany’s new coal phase-out plan upsets country’s Coal Commission