Government rejects state demands for changes to coal exit law
Tagesspiegel Background / Clean Energy Wire
The federal government has largely rejected calls by German states to make changes to the planned coal exit law, reports Nora Zaremba in energy and climate policy newsletter Tagesspiegel Background. The council of state governments (Bundesrat), for example, had criticised that hard coal operators face shutdowns without compensation from 2024 or 2027, while the government had agreed individual compensation with lignite plant operators stretching into the 2030s. In a statement, the federal cabinet argued that it is implementing the recommendations of the coal exit commission and hard coal plant operators are free to take part in the planned tenders to receive remuneration for early shutdowns. The German Association of Local Utilities (VKU) criticised the government’s rejection of changes. “Now it is about the Bundestag [federal parliament] improving key provisions of the coal exit law,” said managing director Ingbert Liebing.
Faced with stagnating greenhouse gas emissions despite a rapid expansion of renewable power, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s grand coalition set up the expert coal exit commission to come up with a plan. The task force recommended shutting down the last coal-fired power plant by 2038 at the latest. The government has since moulded the proposal into legislative drafts. The coal exit law does not require the consent of federal states. The legislative process is currently held up by the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. Zaremba writes that it is unlikely that the law will undergo major changes in the Bundestag.