The federal government and the federal states with lignite mining have agreed on a timetable for the shutdown of power plants and thus the coal phase-out. The agreement was reached at a top meeting in the Chancellery, as government spokesman Steffen Seibert announced after the six-hour consultation on Thursday night.
Among other things, the agreement provides that the The end of coal power generation in Germany may be brought forward by a few years,
So far, the end date for the coal phaseout is 2038. According to the agreement that has now been reached, it should be checked whether the exit can possibly be completed three years earlier, said Seibert.
At the meeting, the federal government presented a “decommissioning path” for lignite-fired power plants in Germany, which the prime ministers of the federal states would have agreed to, the spokesman for Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) said. The federal government now wants to contractually establish this plan with the operators of the power plants and mining sites.
The heads of state government Reiner Haseloff (CDU, Saxony-Anhalt), Michael Kretschmer (CDU, Saxony), Armin Laschet (CDU, North Rhine-Westphalia) and Dietmar Woidke (SPD, Brandenburg) took part in the top meeting at the Chancellor.
Coal exit: Hambacher Forest remains intact
As the German press agency reports on Thursday, this does not mean that no new coal-fired power plants are going online in Germany: The controversial hard coal-fired power plant Datteln 4 in North Rhine-Westphalia is due to start operating soon. Dpa learned this from negotiating circles.
According to the exit documents, 19 power plants would go offline in the next ten years. In the 2030s there would be eleven power plants.
The operators of the power plants will receive billions in compensation for the premature shutdown of their plants: Finance Minister Olaf Scholz said on Thursday in Berlin that operators of West German power plants received 2.6 billion euros, operators of plants in the east 1.75 billion.
North Rhine-Westphalia’s Prime Minister Armin Laschet described the federal and state agreement on the coal phase-out as an “important breakthrough” for climate protection, The politician told the German press agency on Thursday: “We have agreed on a package of reason that brings together the various legitimate concerns of protection for the climate, structural strengthening for the regions affected and security of supply for our industry.”
Laschet: Roadmap for coal exit creates planning security
It is an important signal that the consensus from business, trade unions and environmental associations is finally being implemented politically one to one almost a year after the coal commission reached an agreement. “People in the affected regions in East and West have been waiting for this for a long time.”
Laschet said that the agreement reached with the federal government creates planning security: “For the employees in the power plants and opencast mines, who will now quickly be certain about what their professional prospects look like. For the energy suppliers who receive a reliable basis for further corporate and investment planning. For the coal regions affected, which receive reliable financing commitments to shape the structural change. “
According to government spokesman Seibert, it was also agreed that the Hambacher Forest in the Rhenish lignite mining area should not be cleared for open-cast mining, The forest area had become a focal point of protests by climate protection activists against the coal industry.
After the night meeting in the Chancellery, Laschet wrote in the short message service Twitter: “North Rhine-Westphalia is moving ahead with the exit from coal-based electricity generation and CO2 reduction. Hambacher Forst remains intact.”
40 billion euros for regions affected by the coal phase-out
According to Seibert, the federal government also confirmed its commitment to support the federal states and regions affected by the coal phase-out with a total of 40 billion euros by 2038 at the latest. She also agreed that she would pay employees in the lignite opencast mine and in lignite and hard coal power plants a so-called adjustment allowance. This should be paid by 2043. These payments already exist for hard coal mining employees.
The Federal Government now wants to get the bill on the phaseout of coal under way in January, as Seibert also announced. The legislative process should be completed in the first half of 2020.
In the run-up to the coal summit, representatives of the coal countries had pressed for more planning security. A year ago, in the so-called coal compromise, it was decided to phase out coal-based electricity generation by 2038. Since then, however, there have always been disagreements between the federal government and the federal states as well as within the federal government in the plans for implementation. (AFP)