German govt greenlights first phase-out support payments of 260 million euros to coal regions
Reuters / ZDF
Germany’s federal government and coal mining states have agreed on a programme worth 260 million euros to provide fast support to regions affected by the exit from coal-fired power generation, reports the news agency Reuters (read a shorter version of the Reuters article in English here). This would be a first step, coal state government sources told public broadcaster ZDF, but the regions say they will need a total of 40 billion euros over the next 20 years. The emergency programme presented by finance minister Olaf Scholz is intended to support numerous projects in the coal states of North Rhine-Westphalia, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Brandenburg by 2021. These include new rail lines and other measures to improve the transport infrastructure - but also support for innovation or broadband expansion.
The financial agreement is one of the first concrete measures after a government commission in late January proposed to phase out coal-fired power generation by 2038. Germany’s planned coal exit is expected to cause billions of euros in costs for the public, as the country’s coal exit commission agreed on far-reaching measures to assist the affected regions and coal workers financially and to invest in dozens of infrastructure and training projects. The commission did not put a number on the suggested support measures directly. However, media reported that affected regions should get some 40 billion euros over the next 20 years and that the amount should be fixed in a separate federal law, which would also be binding for future governments. However, the final costs also depend on other factors, such as possible compensation payments to coal plant operators, or the power price's development.