German minister: we’ll burn coal till the 2040s

Ministers say there’s little chance of Europe’s top economy switching off its coal plants for next two decades, despite raft of green policies

(Pic: Bert Kaufmann/Flickr)


Germany will be burning coal for power well into the 2040s, according to state secretary for the environment and energy Rainer Baake.

The country is famed for its “Energiewende” programme to boost the use of renewables, but a rapid phase-out of nuclear power since 2011 has seen it continue to burn coal.

“When I look at the stakeholders’ positions, it seems to suggest that the last [coal] power station will likely go offline between 2040 and 2045,” Baake said in quotes reported by Clean Energy Wire.

“There is an unsolvable contradiction between using lignite for power generation and climate targets.”

Analysis: Germany’s clean energy shift is vexing its neighbours

Berlin recently published a 2050 carbon reduction roadmap outlining how it plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions 95% on 1990 levels.

But critics say policies outlined in the plan fall well short of those carbon reduction targets, and emissions remain stuck at 27% below 1990 levels, leaving it well off its 2020 target of 40% cuts.

Last year coal met 45% of domestic electricity demand, according to analysis by Carbon Brief.

“It will on no account be switched off in the next decade – in my opinion not even in the one after that,” economy minister Sigmar Gabriel told an energy conference in Berlin this week.

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