02 Jan 2023, 13:07
Sören Amelang

Economy minister calls for earlier coal exit in eastern Germany, state premiers object

dpa / Welt / Bild

Germany’s economy minister Robert Habeck has called for pulling forward the country’s coal exit to 2030 from 2038 in the east of the country, following an agreement in the west. "The generation of electricity from coal after 2030 is no longer economically viable with the certificate trading system, which has now been tightened up once again," the Green politician told newswire dpa. "Coal-fired power generation will become more expensive and unattractive." But he said a phase-out would have to be agreed by consensus. "It must be perceived as a good plan in a broad alliance," Habeck said. The German government and the state government of western coal mining and heavy industry state North Rhine-Westphalia, along with energy company RWE, agreed in late 2022 to push forward the coal phase-out in the state to 2030, eight years earlier than agreed in German coal exit law.

In reaction to Habeck’s call for an earlier phase-out, eastern German coal mining state premiers renewed their objections to ending the use of coal power earlier than planned. Conservative Saxony-Anhalt state premier Reiner Haseloff told newspaper die Welt that questioning the previous agreement on a 2038 phase-out date during an energy crisis was "disastrous and naïve." Saxony state premier Michael Kretschmer, also a conservative, rejected Habeck’s initiative. "I don't understand why the economy minister is bringing up this discussion on the first day of the year. Germany has an energy problem," Kretschmer told tabloid Bild.

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