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24 Mar 2020, 14:39
Benjamin Wehrmann

Coal plant compensation should go into green corona stimulus package – renewables industry

Lignite plant Boxberg in eastern Germany. Photo: LEAG
Lignite plant Boxberg in eastern Germany. Photo: LEAG

Clean Energy Wire

Parts of the roughly 40 billion euros that Germany's government currently has earmarked for supporting coal mining regions during the fossil fuel phase-out should be channelled into a green stimulus package to help energy companies weather the coronavirus outbreak, says energy industry federation BEE. The organisation’s head Simone Peter said companies and employees need assistance "at a large scale" and called on the government to "at least" convert 4.3 billion euros planned for decommissioning premium payments for coal plant operators into investment premiums as well as to remove other existing hurdles for wind, solar and bioenergy in order to stabilise renewable energy companies. She argued that "by no means should the money go to shareholders or associates" of the coal companies. Instead, she says they should be invested in renewable power installations, which would ensure that support money becomes effective locally while simultaneously helping to guarantee a secure decentralised power supply for the country. 

The German government has decided on ending coal-fired power production by 2038 at the latest and brokered a deal with mining regions and energy companies that includes billions for structural economic support in the regions as well as compensation payments for coal plants going offline. As a response to the economic difficulties triggered by the coronavirus outbreak, the country's environmental agency UBA and other environmental groups have called for a green stimulus package that favours supportive investments in and incentives for climate-friendly technologies and infrastructure.

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