Published: Sat, January 18, 2020
Global News | By Blake Casey

Germany to help regions, employees, companies affected by coal exit - gov't spox

Germany to help regions, employees, companies affected by coal exit - gov't spox

The government plans to draft a law for exiting coal power later this month.

Germany is under pressure to clarify how it plans to accelerate its "energy transition" away from fossil fuels and towards renewables, with a target to generate 65 percent from carbon-neutral sources by 2030.

Germany is to pay billions of euros to utility companies to speed up the shutdown of their coal-fired power plants, the government said on Thursday.

But the group complained that was "well below" the 3.5 billion euros (Dh14.31bn) of losses it expects.

Economy Minister Peter Altmaier, Environment Minister Svenja Schulze and Finance Minister Olaf Scholz will on Thursday announce details of the agreement.

Shares in the group were 2% higher at 1508 GMT, the second-biggest gainers among German blue-chips, having earlier touched their highest since September 25, 2014 as traders welcomed the clarity after months of wrangling. Brown coal, or lignite, is considered the most polluting type of coal, partly because its low heat content means more must be burned.

Late last year, the government agreed not to force hard coal power plants to close over the next seven years. The compensation paid to the many thousands of coal workers who will lose their jobs could reach nearly 5 billion euros by 2043.

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Germany's exit from the coal industry marks the second major upheaval for RWE in as many years following the breakup of's former subsidiary Innogy IGY.DE with peer E.ON EONGn.DE . Among the most controversial projects is a new $ 2 billion coal mine in the northeast of the country.

But environmentalist group BUND complained that the government's scheme pushes more closures back beyond 2030, keeping some plants running longer than previously thought.

Germany has reached agreement to provide €4.35 billion for utilities, such as the RWE power plant company, which will close some of their coal plants early.

"It's simply absurd", tweeted Luisa Neubauer, a leading figure of Germany's "Fridays for Future" protest movement.

The reports, which have not yet been officially confirmed, follow a breakthrough agreement at the political level overnight on Wednesday, where Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel agreed a 40 billion euro ($45 billion) aid package with the premiers of four states where coal mining is still a large part of the local economy.

Over the same period, Berlin aims to reduce output of greenhouse gases by 55 percent compared with 1990's levels - a goal agreed a year ago under pressure from demonstrators like the worldwide "Fridays for Future" movement. Countries around the world are watching how quickly the 28-country union, which, taken together is now the third-largest emitter of planet-warming gases, can reduce its carbon footprint. The country is in the process of exiting atomic power, with the last nuclear reactor set to go offline at the end of 2022.

The country has already admitted it will miss an intermediate target for 2020.

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