German - Polish Media Programme on Coal and Energy: A Comparison Part I

Target Audience: Polish and German journalists
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Part I: 12 Oct - 14 Oct 2014
Area of Anhalt-Dessau-Bitterfeld
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Energy Transition and Structural Change – An In-depth Examination of Model Industrial Regions

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Two-part fact-finding trip for journalists in Poland and Germany

Part 1: Germany

Case study: Anhalt-Dessau-Bitterfeld – Germany’s former chemical and lignite triangle on the way to clean energy?

Coal-generated power is one of the most controversial issues in energy policy, in Germany as in Poland. The situation appears paradoxical: on the one hand, both countries are far more progressive than the EU average when it comes to the role of coal in the energy mix. On the other, Germany and Poland take an entirely different approach to energy policy: Germany is greatly invested in the Energiewende, while Poland views itself as the EU’s champion of ‘common sense’ industrial policy.

This is not just about energy policy. Until today, traditional coal-mining regions in both Poland and Germany have been industrial centres employing thousands of workers. The dispute over the future of coal is therefore also a dispute over economic policy:

  • Does a structural change away from coal towards renewable energies really lead to de-industrialisation and unemployment?

  • What does today’s social and economic balance look like in regions where structural change has been a reality for decades?

  • What can politics do to keep the lights on beyond the end of coal-mining?

These questions are at the heart of a two-part press trip for journalists in Germany and Poland, designed to give an in-depth look at the situation in two model regions where energy transition, structural change and coal are not simply abstract concepts. It should also allow for sound examination of why the debate on energy policy is so different in the two neighbouring countries.