IG BCE, the energy and mining union said it believes coal-fired power plants will “stay indispensable for at least 25 years as a bridging technology” in Germany.

That’s according to the union’s chairman, Michael Vassiliadis, who spoke to the German press on Tuesday. Mr Vassiliadis said the union is ready to negotiate with the government on the future of the most-polluting coal-fired power plants, in an effort to prevent them from closing until near the middle of the century.
Michael Vassiliadis
IG BCE, representing about 650,000 workers in mining, power and chemicals, is ready to take up an offer to join “roundtable” talks on the coal plants.. The Hanover-based union is confident that Germany will need the coal-fired generation for “at least 25 years” after the last nuclear power plant closes in 2022, he said. 

The government is mulling the possibility of phasing out lignite entirely by 2030 and hard coal from 2040, according to discussion documents on the Environment Ministry’s website.

Merkel’s cabinet are in the process of drawing up a climate programme for 2050. IG BCE won’t support a “unilateral exit” from lignite generation, Vassiliadis said, noting that the group needs to establish a consensus that “really is” a consensus.

Germany’s lignite-fired power stations generated about 24 per cent of all electricity last year.

Lignite emits three times more carbon pollution than modern gas-fired plants, according to the Federal Environment Office. At the same time, the industry supports 20,400 jobs, according to the Debriv mining lobby.

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