12 Dec 2019, 13:14
Freja Eriksen

Implementation of coal exit compromise endangered, associations tell Merkel

Clean Energy Wire

A coalition of German business associations, trade unions, institutes and NGOs have warned that the implementation of the country's coal exit commission's recommendations is put at risk by current negotiations on a coal exit law. In a letter addressed to chancellor Angela Merkel, utility and industry associations BDEW, VKU and BDI, the trade union umbrella DGB, the German Institute for Applied Ecology and the environmental and development umbrella NGO DNR criticise that several points in the draft law run counter to the commission's coal exit proposals. This endangers the societal consensus and acceptance of the energy transition and climate action in the long run, they argue. Firstly, they point out that regulatory shutdowns without compensation contradict the consensual overall proposal of the coal exit commission. The letter also states that already built but not yet operating coal-fired power plants were recommended not to be commissioned. Contrary to this, the German government has recently said that the new Datteln 4 coal-fired power plant would be allowed to go into operation. The letter also reminds chancellor Merkel of the agreed need to ensure robust and reliable framework conditions for the expansion of renewable energy.

In late January 2019, Germany's coal exit commission agreed on its highly anticipated phase-out proposal and recommended to end coal-fired power generation by 2038 at the latest. Now, a draft exit law has been formulated to ensure the implementation of the commission's proposal. The document stipulates auctions for operators of hard coal plants to take capacity off the grid according to the government’s timetable but leaves out the key question of how to deal with lignite plants, as the government is still in talks with operators about compensation payments for the shutdown of plants and mines. The law has yet to be agreed by the cabinet, and will then be sent to parliament for the regular legislative process.

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