Eastern German states call coal exit roadmap into question – media report
Spiegel Online / Clean Energy Wire
The premiers of Germany's eastern coal mining states have called the preliminary roadmap for the phase-out of coal power into question due to a perceived breach of promises by the federal economy ministry (BMWi), Frank Dohmen and Gerald Traufetter report for the website Spiegel Online. The article says that the eastern states of Saxony-Anhalt, Brandenburg and Saxony are irked by the ministry’s plans to shut down coal plants in eastern Germany before 2030, arguing that there had been an agreement to begin the decommissioning in the western mining state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW). The authors say the economy ministry is struggling to achieve its objective of shutting down plants with a total capacity of 12.5 gigawatts (GW) by 2023 and that the planned commissioning of the new Datteln 4 plant in NRW further adds to these difficulties, which is why it would now be eying plants in the east that could help it reach the desired capacity for decommissioning. The eastern state premiers fear that an earlier shutdown of plants on their territory could alienate voters in mining regions and call for a summit in Angela Merkel's Chancellery to find a solution, the authors say. A BMWi spokesperson told the Clean Energy Wire that the ministry is in talks with plant operator Uniper to find a solution for "plants that are not yet on the grid," a description that only fits Datteln 4, and that it hopes to end the talks soon in order to allow legislation on the coal exit to proceed.
A government-appointed commission agreed in early 2019 that coal-fired power production in the country should end no later than 2038. The government has said it would adapt the commission's proposals and vowed to introduce the necessary legal changes before the end of this year. The commissioning of the modern Datteln 4 coal plant has been defended by proponents, who argue that this would allow shutting down dirtier plants at an earlier date without any additional risk to the country's power supply security.