Thursday, 06 August, 2020


Germany to pay out around €40bn in coal phaseout plan

In November farmers staged a tractors protest in Berlin against government plans to phase out glyphosate pesticides Germany to pay out around €40bn in coal phaseout plan
Bennie Garza | 18 January, 2020, 23:13

Germany said Thursday it will pay energy companies almost $5 billion to phase out coal power and move to green electricity within two decades.

"What we have here is a good agreement for climate protection because it makes clear that we mean it seriously", Economy Minister Peter Altmaier stated.

Government officials and governors of the affected countries agreed on a way to decommission coal-fired power plants at a meeting that ended in the early hours of Thursday.

For some Germans the adopted measures, such as carbon price on fossil fuels, might "cause fear", while for others the climate package would still not be ambitious enough, said Merkel.

Analysts thought the impact on the coal market would be limited, since European Union demand for coal has long stagnated in the face of competition from renewables and gas.

The compensation will target the states of Saxony-Anhalt, Saxony, North Rhine-Westphalia and Brandenburg and will be used to develop new infrastructure projects for coal-dependent areas, retrain workers and cover lost production.

In addition, power companies such as Uniper and RWE will share another Euro 4.35 bn in compensation.

It said that reviews will be carried out in 2026 and 2029 to determine whether Germany can exit coal-fired electricity generation in 2035, three years before the final deadline.

Two government sources told Reuters that Berlin plans to pay utility RWE around 2.6 billion euros in compensation for shutting down coal-fired plants.

Even so, the BDI industry association criticised the agreement, saying companies had hoped for more help to cope with increased energy costs.

Shares in German utility companies E.ON and RWE, which each stand to obtain vital repayment for shutting down their coal crops, had been up over 2% at the Frankfurt alternate Thursday. The plan foresees taking 19 coal-burning power plants offline in the coming decade, beginning with the dirtiest plants later this year.

Coal is considered a major factor in global warming and it produces about a third of Germany's electricity, half of which is garnered from burning lignite. The exact sum for each worker remains unclear. The new package extends that to brown coal, or lignite, of which Germany is the world's largest producer.

Environmental campaigners criticized the decision though, noting that the agreement will see a new coal-fired plant - Datteln 4 - go on-line this year and allow for the expansion of the Garzweiler open-cast mine in western Germany, though a nearby forest that has been the target of long-running protests will be spared.

The timetable for plant closures demands the first 300MW unit to be taken out of service at the end of 2020, with another 900MW due to end at the end of 2021.

The loss of energy caused by the coal exit should be offset by adding natural gas-powered capacity at existing plants, for example at Jaenschwalde in Brandenburg, the spokesman said.

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