Emissions & Environment, Europe, Strategic Development

Germany to support mining regions after coal exit

German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cabinet has adopted a draft law aimed at strengthening coal regions following the country’s coal exit.

The draft law plans to allocate up to €14bn ($15.5bn) in grants over the next two decades to lignite mining regions affected by the elimination of coal-fired power generation.

The law, submitted by Germany’s economy and energy minister Peter Altmaier, aims to use the grants to stimulate the economy in a wide range of areas, such as business-related infrastructure, improvement of public transport, broadband and mobility infrastructure and environmental protection and landscape management.

“We want to maintain and expand jobs, sustainably improve the quality of life of people living in the regions, and at the same time make an important contribution to climate protection through the phase-out of coal-fired power generation,” Altmaier said.

Additionally, the federal government would support the regions with up to €26bn through further measures, such as the expansion of research and development programs and the establishment of federal institutions.

A government-appointed panel in January recommended Germany end all coal-fired power generation no later than 2038, citing the impacts of coal generation on climate. 

The approved draft bill will however, only come into effect once the phase out of coal becomes law, officially passed by the German cabinet. Altmaier said he expected a separate bill for the coal exit to be submitted in October.

Energy industry association, Bundesverband der Energie- und Wasserwirtschaft (BDEW) head Stefan Kapferer said that “equally as important as” the coal region support legislation is the fast initiation of steps to implement the energy policy aspects on the coal commission’s recommendations. “In order to guarantee security of supply beyond 2023, we urgently need incentives for the expansion of secured capacity in the form of low-emission power plants. In addition, proposals on how renewable energies should be increased to 65 per cent by 2030 are absolutely necessary,” said Kapferer.

The draft law is available here.