BERLIN (Reuters): German Environment Minister Svenja Schulze said exiting coal as an energy source would send a positive signal internationally, and need not necessarily drive German energy prices higher.
Schulze told the Funke Mediengruppe newspaper chain she was satisfied with the work of a government-appointed commission, which on Saturday proposed shutting down the last of Germany’s coal-fired power plants by 2038 at the latest.
A member of the Social Democrats, junior partners in Chancellor Angela Merkel’s ruling coalition, Schulze said she had not studied the commission’s recommendations in detail, but studies conducted by her ministry had shown than exiting coal would “by no means lead to higher electricity prices.” “I am convinced that a strong industrial country like Germany can master the energy revolution and become stronger and more modern in the process,” she added. She said regions that now produced coal would remain important players in the German energy market through investment in new technologies, renewables, and climate protection.
A government-appointed commission on Saturday proposed providing at least 40 billion euros ($45.7 billion) in aid to regions affected by the phase-out. The proposals must now be implemented by the German government and 16 regional states.
They embody Germany’s strategy to shift to renewable energy, which made up more than 40% of the energy mix last year – beating coal for the first time – and follow a 2011 decision to halt nuclear power.
Germany to phase out coal by 2038 in move away from fossil fuels