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Wind Industry Profile of

German Coal Exit -?-

The topic dominated public debate for months: What should the coal phase-out look like in Germany? How many power plants can be shut down and how quickly? The Coal Commission convened by the Federal Government spent months discussing the issue and finally laboriously agreed on a compromise resolution. But now there's nothing left of it.

Experts say that the coal phase-out in Germany could be achieved much faster. (Image: Pixabay)Experts say that the coal phase-out in Germany could be achieved much faster. (Image: Pixabay)

Breaking of promises - that's what some of the members of the Coal Commission, including Prof. Dr. Barbara Praetorius, former chairwoman of the Commission, are accusing Germany's government of. The agreement presented last week by the Federal Government and the coal-producing federal states was met with little approval from most experts anyway, but now the tone of the discussion is becoming more heated.

Eight people who, as part of the Commission, tried to create climate protection and structural change with a fair balance between the interests of employees, coal regions, industry and the interests of society as a whole, have sounded the alarm in a public statement.

A 1:1 implementation of the Commission's recommendations was promised, but never happened: "The undersigned former members of the Commission note that the 1:1 implementation of the compromise reached in the Commission has been clearly and very unilaterally been abandoned with the agreement between the federal government and the coal-producing federal states." And further: "Without appropriate corrections, we see the compromise found in the Commission and supported by us so far being cancelled by the federal and state governments."

Five central points of criticism are named and explained by the signatories, including the commissioning of the hard coal-fired power plant Datteln 4 and the so-called 'island solution' for the Hambach forest which has been the place of violent clashes between environmentalists who want to protect the forest and the police in recent months. Although energy company RWE as the owner of the open-cast mine nearby has agreed to preserve the forest, the company now wants to continue open-cast mining in the surrounding area, which means that the forest will be drained of water and eventually die. In addition, more villages will have to make way for open-cast mining - this, too, was decided on differently by the Commission.

Above all, however, there is still no agreement on the further development of renewable energies. "The present compromise between the coal-producing regions and the Federal Government doesn't contain the implementation agreed upon for the necessary expansion of renewable energies. Against the background of massive layoffs in wind industry and the imminent collapse of PV through the solar cap, this also violates the Commission's decision."

When it comes to climate protection, the German government likes to turn a blind eye. How much longer? (Image: Pixabay)

In contrast, the Commission's final report clearly stated: "One of the central instruments for achieving the climate targets is the further expansion of renewable energies. In order to achieve the 65 percent target of the coalition agreement, reliable framework conditions for investments in renewable energies are needed. Adequate land allocation is necessary for the expansion of renewable energies to 65 percent. In particular, for wind turbines and PV plants areas of relevant size must be designated, accepted and approved."

Dr. Simone Peter, President of the German Renewable Energy Federation, joins in the criticism of the Commission members: "The exit path mapped out is too slow. We now need investments in low-cost renewable energies and reliable expansion paths for the target of 65% renewable energies in the electricity sector by 2030, which has been decided by the Federal Government, as well as the short-term removal of the caps on photovoltaics, offshore wind and flexibilised biomass".

For the Association of German Engineers (VDI), the coal compromise also doesn't go far enough. Prof. Dr.-Ing. Harald Bradke, Chairman of the VDI Energy and Environment Association, criticized: "Without more ambitious expansion paths, we are otherwise threatened with a gap in the power supply in Germany."

Conclusion: again important years for climate protection will be lost in Germany.

Katrin Radtke
Germany, coal, exit, phase-out, enery transition, coal commission, expert, climate change, recommendation, member, open-cast, mining

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