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German commission recommends phasing-out power from coal by 2038

Increase font size  Decrease font size Date:2019-01-29   Views:122
Germany is set to phase-out coal-fired power generation by 2038 after the government-appointed coal commission reached a compromise Saturday.

The coal phase-out is in addition to the 2011 landmark decision to end nuclear power generation by 2022 with Germany's future power mix to be made up entirely of renewables and gas, currently accounting for just half of power generation.
Some 3 GW of lignite coal and 4 GW of hard-coal plants face closure by 2022 in the first wave, with the commission recommending a cap on coal-fired capacity of 30 GW by 2022, according to the final report seen by S&P Global Platts.

German coal capacity is currently over 40 GW, with coal plants generating over 200 TWh or 35% of national power demand in 2018.

The report says approximately 37 GW of capacity would be left under already planned coal closures by 2022. The first wave of coal closures comes against the backdrop of the end of nuclear, with 8 GW of nuclear capacity to shut in 2021-22.

Another 13 GW of lignite and coal plants would need to shut from 2023 onward with only 17 GW to be left online by 2030 (of which lignite is 9 GW), the report said, adding that this would be in line with achieving Germany's 2030 climate-change target of cutting power plant emissions by 61% from 1990 levels.

The report, which does not single out specific power plants, sets a summer 2020 deadline for operators to agree on the phase-out timetable.

The agreed time-table will be reviewed in 2023, 2026, 2029 and 2032 with a view to possibly fully exiting coal by 2035, it said.

Of the 28 commission members representing industry, unions and environmental activists, 27 voted for the compromise which was reached in a 20-hour long final session that started Friday midday with only one member representing a community facing displacement by an open-pit lignite mine voting against it. The commission will submit its final report to the government with leaders of mining states already indicating support for the plan, which also sets out financial compensation guidelines for plant operators and support for mining regions as well as reducing the burden of rising power prices on industry and consumers.
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