New state premier of North-Rhine Westphalia ready to end coal by 2030
Clean Energy Wire / dpa / Süddeutsche Zeitung
Germany’s most populated state and home to some of the largest still operating lignite mines and coal power stations could phase-out the fossil fuel as early as 2030, North-Rhine Westphalia’s (NRW) new state premier Hendrik Wüst (CDU) said in his inaugural speech in parliament. The government that Wüst inherited from unsuccessful CDU chancellor candidate Armin Laschet would do everything to make an earlier coal phase-exit possible and accelerate expansion of renewable energies. Moreover, his coalition government with the pro-business party FDP would present an “Energy Supply Strategy 2.0" in the coming weeks that includes incentives to develop “alternatives for a secure electricity supply” in case renewables did not supply enough, Wüst said according to a report by news agency dpa carried by the Süddeutsche Zeitung. Wüst argued that coal power generation was becoming increasingly uneconomical anyway, due to stricter climate targets.
According to Germany’s coal exit legislation, the last plant will be shuttered in 2038 at the latest, but the parties currently negotiating to form the next federal government are likely to accelerate the phase-out plan. The CDU-FDP government in NRW under Armin Laschet had been a key player in the negotiations that led to the current coal exit plan that also includes billions in support for economic development of former mining regions and compensation payments for coal plant operators. Plants in western state NRW generally were supposed to go offline earlier than in eastern coal regions, meaning an earlier exit date would not alter the plan for the state as much as it does for other regions in the country.