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Agreement by national coal exit commission: Germany will shut down all coal-fired power plants by 2038

'Germany to close all 84 of its coal-fired power plants, will rely on primarily on renewable energy', 26 Jan 2019

Germany, one of the world’s biggest consumers of coal, will shut down all 84 of its coal-fired power plants over the next 19 years to meet its international commitments in the fight against climate change, a government commission said Saturday. [...]

Coal plants account for 40% of Germany’s electricity, itself a reduction from recent years when coal dominated power production. [...]

The plan includes some $45 billion in spending to mitigate the pain in coal regions. The commission’s recommendations are expected to be adopted by Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government.

“It’s a big moment for climate policy in Germany that could make the country a leader once again in fighting climate change,” said Claudia Kemfert, professor for energy economics at the DIW Berlin, the German Institute for Economic Research. [...]

The plan to eliminate coal-burning plants as well as nuclear means that Germany will be counting on renewable energy to provide 65% to 80% of the country’s power by 2040. Last year, renewables overtook coal as the leading source and now account for 41% of the country’s electricity. [...]

The panel that made the recommendation to close coal plants included leaders in the federal and state governments along with top industry and union representatives, scientists and environmentalists.

Germany long saw itself as a global leader in fighting climate change but was forced to concede in recent years that it would by miss its target date of 2020 to reduce CO2 emissions by 40% from 1990. It is expected to be 32% below 1990 levels by next year. [...]

“It’s good that Germany now has a clear road map for the phase-out of coal and we’re on the path to becoming carbon-free,” said Martin Kaiser, executive director of Greenpeace Germany and a member of the commission. He was also pleased that the commission recommended that utilities scrap plans to clear the last 250 acres of the Hambach Forest west of Cologne for a lignite open-pit mine. [...]