Energy: Greens are also aiming for an earlier exit from coal in the East

Energy: Greens are also aiming for an earlier exit from coal in the East

Greens are also aiming for an earlier exit from coal in the East

Water vapor rises from the cooling towers of a lignite-fired power plant.  Photo: Patrick Pleul/dpa

Water vapor rises from the cooling towers of a lignite-fired power plant. photo

© Patrick Pleul/dpa

By 2038 at the latest, electricity generation from burning climate-damaging coal should be over in Germany. The Greens are continuing to put pressure on the exit as early as 2030.

The Greens parliamentary group in the Bundestag aims to coal phase-out to 2030 also in the east of the country. In a draft resolution for the parliamentary group’s closed meeting next week, it says that this is a “necessary step to achieve the climate goals”. The ARD “Capital Studio” and the “Süddeutsche Zeitung” had first reported on it. Saxony-Anhalt’s Prime Minister Reiner Haseloff (CDU) described an earlier exit from coal as “completely illusory” – not least because of the loss of Russian pipeline gas in the wake of Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine.

An earlier phase-out of coal not only makes sense in terms of climate policy, but also provides planning and investment security for local people and regions in view of new developments, according to the paper by the Greens parliamentary group, which met from Tuesday to Thursday in Weimar meets. The assumption that coal-fired power generation will be economical by 2038 has become obsolete.

had in the coalition agreement SPD, Greens and FDP agreed to “ideally” bring the phase-out of coal forward by eight years to 2030. This was already agreed in autumn for the Rhenish mining area in the west. The next step is to bring forward the exit from lignite in the east, said Greens co-group leader Katharina Dröge. Economics Minister Robert Habeck (Greens) also spoke out in favor of this, but assured that this would have to be agreed by consensus. Whether the traffic light partners SPD and FDP will play along is an open question.

Reactions from the Eastern countries

In the affected federal states of Brandenburg, Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt, an earlier exit is viewed critically. It is “simply not explained how we want to achieve a self-sufficient energy supply,” said Saxony-Anhalt Prime Minister Haseloff of the German Press Agency on the sidelines of a media conference in Tutzing, Bavaria, with a view to the plans of the Greens parliamentary group. The scenario of an early exit from coal is “completely illusory” after the Russian pipeline gas, a crucial building block as a bridging technology, was lost, which was also the prerequisite for the original target of 2038.

As an alternative to lignite-fired power plants, the paper by the Greens group talks about “hydrogen-ready gas-fired power plants”, i.e. power plants that initially use gas combustion, but later also use hydrogen Electricity can generate. It is foreseeable that eastern Germany will become a region where green hydrogen is produced. “Wherever lignite is still burned today, the experience and network infrastructure can be used. This entry secures countless jobs in the power plant sector.”

Is hydrogen the solution?

But there are doubts about that, too. It would be years before power plants could produce green hydrogen, Brandenburg’s Prime Minister Dietmar Woidke told the ARD capital studio. With regard to modern gas-fired power plants, the SPD politician said: “So first of all, power plants will be built that will burn gas at least in the next few years,” said Woidke. That would further increase Germany’s dependency on foreign countries – “regardless of which foreign country”.

In the energy transition, great hopes are placed in hydrogen, which is produced from renewable energies. In the future, it could also be used to generate electricity. At present, however, the energy source produced from green electricity is scarce and relatively expensive.


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