Europe's largest economy aims to exit coal to reach climate goals
- Agora Energiewende
- BDEW-German Association of Energy and Water Industries
- BGR - Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources
- BMU - Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, and Nuclear Safety
- BMWi - Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy
- DEBRIV - Federal German Association for Brown Coal
- EPH - Energetický a průmyslový holding
German government implements the coal exit proposal
Government, mining states, utilities fix path for Germany's coal phase-out
The German government, its coal mining states and several major utilities have agreed on a roadmap for shutting down the country's lignite-fired power plants and on compensation payments for operators. Many analysts and environmental activists immediately dismissed the phase-out schedule agreed on almost one year after the country's landmark decision to end coal by 2038, arguing that the pace was too slow to comply with Germany's emissions reduction obligations. Former coal commission members say the German government breached the landmark exit compromise from 2019.
Spelling out the coal exit - Germany’s phase-out plan
Germany plans to phase out coal-fired power generation by 2038 at the latest, and the government has adopted a draft law detailing an exit plan. The document stipulates auctions for operators of hard coal plants to take capacity off the grid according to the government’s timetable. It also includes a deal between the federal government, coal states and operators about which lignite plant goes offline at what date, and how much compensation is paid. Parliament is set to debate and decide the proposed drafts in the first half of 2020. This factsheet explains key contents.
Implementing Germany’s coal exit proposal
Germany's coal exit commission has agreed on a proposal on how the country can manage to phase out its single largest source of greenhouse gas emissions by 2038, and the ensuing political decision-making process is in full swing. Chancellor Angela Merkel's government coalition has to decide how to implement the non-binding proposal and has drafted necessary legislation. The laws will ultimately be decided by parliamentarians in a process that could last well into 2020. In this factsheet, Clean Energy Wire lays out the basics of the ongoing political process to translate the German coal exit into action.
The coal commission proposal
Energy transition home country Germany eyes a phase-out of coal power by 2038 at the very latest, as the country tries to get back on track to create a climate-friendly economy. In its highly anticipated phase-out proposal, the country’s coal commission said the world’s fourth largest economy could also wean itself off coal by 2035 if conditions are right. The deal, which was sealed after a 20-hour negotiation session, was welcomed by most NGOs, researchers, and business associations. But climate activists said the pace of the exit was too slow and therefore violated international climate targets. Germany’s government has signalled a swift process to assess the coal exit commission’s proposal and start the law-making process.
Factsheet: German commission proposes coal exit by 2038
The final report of Germany's coal exit commission sets out a pathway for the country to phase out the fossil power source and make progress on its slow emissions reductions. Clean Energy Wire summarises key proposals in this factsheet.
Article: German government stands ready to move on coal exit proposal
The German government is ready to quickly supply financial means for the country’s exit from coal. It will now examine the details of the proposal agreed by the coal commission in order to set the law-making process in motion. Read the full story.
Article: Relief about German coal exit deal fades as focus turns to implementation challenges
The initial relief in Germany over a coal exit deal has given way to fresh discussions over how to implement the hard-won compromise. In a first Bundestag debate on the proposal, parliamentarians made clear they will have the last word on all coal exit law-making. Read the full story.
Coal in Germany
Power generation from coal has long served German industry, and despite Germany’s reputation as an ecological role model, the cheap, carbon-intensive fossil fuel is still an important pillar of the country’s power supply. In 2018, 22.5 percent of electricity was generated from lignite, 12.8 percent from hard coal. The country shut its last hard coal mine in 2018, but it is still the biggest producer of lignite in the world. Germany has three active lignite mining regions, where many jobs and livelihoods depend on the fossil fuel. To date, opencast lignite mining has altered 179,490 hectares of countryside in Germany. Since 1924, 313 settlements have been lost to lignite mines in the country.
Article: Germany bids farewell to domestic hard coal mining
On 21 December 2018 the mining of hard coal officially came to an end in Germany. The closing of the last mine in the Ruhr region marks the end of 200 years of mining the fossil fuel that made Germany’s industrialisation possible. Read the full story.
The long road to Germany's coal exit
The German government has long shied away from ringing in the end to coal-fired power generation. In 2016, Germany’s Climate Action Plan 2050 – which details how the country is to become close to carbon-neutral by mid-century – failed to set a deadline, but said climate targets could only be reached if coal-fired power generation is reduced step-by-step. It also proposed launching a commission to manage the phase-out of coal by reaching a broad consensus.
In their 2018 coalition treaty, Angela Merkel’s conservative CDU/CSU alliance and the Social Democratic Party (SPD) decided to put the Climate Action Plan proposal into action and launch the “Commission on Growth, Structural Change and Employment”, which quickly became known as simply the coal exit commission. Over several months, commission members held discussions in closed-door meetings. Clean Energy Wire followed the process and summarised key developments in the Commission Watch.
Factsheet: Germany's Climate Action Plan 2050
Germany’s basic framework for largely decarbonising its economy to reach 2050 climate goals includes target corridors for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in individual economic sectors and emphasises the need to ensure economic competitiveness throughout the transition. CLEW’s factsheet gives an overview of the agreed plan.
Factsheet: Germany's coal exit commission
The coal exit commission is supposed to find economic perspectives for coal workers and regions, spell out measures to reduce carbon emissions in line with Germany's climate targets, and name an end date for coal-fired power production. The CLEW factsheet explains the details.
Factsheet: Climate, energy and transport in Germany's coalition treaty
Concluding weeks of intensive negotiations, Germany's government partners agreed on a coalition treaty in early 2018. In this factsheet, the Clean Energy Wire presents excerpts on climate, energy and transport from the agreement between Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives (CDU/CSU) and the Social Democrats (SPD).