Merkel, state leaders agree terms of brown coal exit

(EurActiv, 16 Jan 2020) Germany has reached an agreement with the regions most affected by a plan to phase out the use of brown coal, or lignite, for its power plants by providing about 40 billion euros ($45 billion) in aid, a document reviewed by Reuters showed.

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government wants to shut down all of Germany’s coal-fired power plants by 2038 at the latest as part of measures to help it achieve a target of cutting greenhouse gas emissions to 55% of their 1990 level by 2030.

The three-page agreement dated 15 January did not stipulate when exactly the brown coal power plants would be shut and how much compensation the utilities operating them would get.

The paper said Merkel and the leaders of Brandenburg, Saxony, North-Rhine Westphalia and Saxony-Anhalt agreed on a plan for the decommissioning of brown coal plants that they want to finalise with utilities. Closing the power plants would also mean shutting the mines that feed them, adding to the economic cost of the shutdown.

It also said that in 2026 and 2029 the government would review whether Germany was producing enough power from alternative sources to justify completing the coal exit in 2035, three year earlier than planned.

Economy Minister Peter Altmaier, Environment Minister Svenja Schulze and Finance Minister Olaf Scholz will on Thursday unveil the details of the agreement. Details about the decommissioning timetable and compensation would be made public after talks with utilities.

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EurActiv, 16 Jan 2020: Merkel, state leaders agree terms of brown coal exit