Based on inputs by Shahid Kazi
A German government commision has said that 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. The implementation of the plan would cost around $45 billion.
Coal plants account for 40% of Germany’s electricity, this interestingly are the reduced percentage compared to recent years when coal was the primary source of power production.
“This is an historic accomplishment,” said Ronald Pofalla, chairman of the 28-member government commission, at a news conference in Berlin following a marathon 21-hour negotiating session. “It was anything but a sure thing. But we did it,” Pofalla said. “There won’t be any more coal-burning plants in Germany by 2038.”. The breakthrough ended seven months of waiting
“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. “It’s also an important signal for the world that Germany is again getting serious about climate change: a very big industrial nation that depends so much on coal is switching it off.”
The German government had earlier taken a bold decision earlier and had decided to shut down all nuclear power plants by 2022. Twelve of the country’s 19 nuclear plants have been shuttered so far.
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.
“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.