11 Jul 2019, 14:02
Julian Wettengel

Industrial powerhouse states plan to step it up on renewables, climate

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung / Süddeutsche Zeitung / Clean Energy Wire

The government of the western German coal state and industrial power house of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) has presented an “Energy Supply Strategy,” which includes a plan to double the state’s renewables capacity by 2030, reports the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ). State economy minister Andreas Pinkwart said that NRW planned its coal exit “if possible by 2035, but by 2038 at the latest,” which is in line with the recommendations of Germany’s coal exit commission. Pinkwart also told the FAZ that a power grid stress test planned for next year would identify weaknesses and ensure supply security. “We need certainty that the coal exit combined with the closure of the last nuclear power plants in 2022 will not jeopardise grid stability.”

More than half of the country’s installed lignite power capacity and a third of its hard coal capacity are located in the industry-heavy and most populous German state, writes the FAZ. Germany’s coal commission has recommended that the state exit the fossil fuel by 2038 at the latest, and the German government has said that there was a general agreement with NRW-based mine operator RWE that the first lignite mines to be closed down should be older plants in western Germany.

The conservative state premier of another German industrial powerhouse – southern Bavaria –Markus Söder (CSU), meanwhile, reiterated that climate action was now a priority, reports the Süddeutsche Zeitung. He announced that the state would step up a programme of planting trees, aiming for 30 million new trees over the coming five years. Forest management should now focus on climate relevance and not on financial gains for the state.

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