The German government has approved a new set of bills that will transition the country’s energy infrastructure toward renewable sources and close its last coal power plant in 2038.
The bills passed both houses in the German parliament and will also include $45billion to fund transition to other forms of energy production.
Germany’s parliament has approved a new plan to phase out coal-burning power plants in the country by 2038
‘The days of coal are numbered in Germany,’ the country’s Environment Minister Svenja Schulze told
‘Germany is the first industrialized country that leaves behind both nuclear energy and coal.’
The new bills come after the country stopped all black coal mining in 2018, though it continues to import coal from other countries to run its power plants.
The country also operates a significant number of mines that extract lignite, a soft form of coal that’s also burned to generate electricity.
In 2019, around 20% of the Germany’s total energy capacity came from coal, or around 43.9 gigwatts of its 210.2 gigawatt capacity.
The bills also include $45billion in funding to help workers in the coal industry transition to other sectors
The majority of the country’s power comes from renewable sources including wind and solar power, which accounted for more than 50 percent of the country’s energy capacity in 2019.
Over the same period, Germany has cut its nuclear energy generation by more than half, reducing its capacity from 20.4 gigawatts in 2009 to 9.5 gigawatts in 2019, and hopes to end all nuclear power generation by 2022.
Some have criticized the new plan to eliminate coal-powered energy as a threat to the economic welfare of people who work in the country’s lignite mines.
Germany has previously said it will eliminate nuclear power generation in the country by 2022 and work toward eliminating all greenhouse gas emissions by 2050
However, the head of German Industrial Union for Mining, Chemicals and Energy, the country’s largest miner’s union, Michael Vassiliadis, welcomed the new bill, describing it as a ‘historic milestone.’
The bills include provisions to provide additional assistance to miners and other energy sector workers affected by the closures, as well as training and assistance finding work in other industries.
The government is also working on plans to transform the site of lignite mines in western Germany into tourist resorts and nature resorts.