AP Photo/Martin Meissner

Germany – the first large economy to decide to abandon coal and nuclear energy

German lawmakers complete the country’s long-awaited phase-out of coal as an energy source, supporting a plan that environmental groups consider not ambitious enough, and free market participants criticize taxpayers as a waste of money.

AP Photo / Martin Meissner

Last Friday, both houses of parliament approved a bill that would stop the last coal-fired power plant by 2038 and allocate about € 40 billion to help regions affected by the decision during the transition.

This plan is part of a program to “Transition to alternative energy sources” Germany – attempts to excommunicate Europe’s largest economy from fossil fuels, and provide all the country’s main energy needs with renewable sources. Unlike comparable countries such as France and the UK, for Germany this goal is hindered by the existing commitment to curtail nuclear power by the end of 2022.

AP Photo / Martin Meissner

On December 21, 2018, the last black coal mine in Germany was closed in Bottrop. But the country continues to import fuel and develop its own reserves of lignite – brown coal, which is quite a lot in the west and east of the country.

German coal days numbered– said the Minister of Environmental Protection and Nuclear Safety of Germany Svenja Schulze (Svenja Schulze). – Germany is the first industrialized country to leave behind both nuclear energy and coal“.

Greenpeace and other environmental groups consider this plan not sufficiently radical. They argue that it will not reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Germany quickly enough to reach the benchmarks set by the Paris climate agreement.

According to the Fraunhofer State Institute, funded by the state of Germany, about 55.7% of the net electricity generated this year for public energy supply was obtained from renewable sources, including wind, solar, biomass and hydropower. Coal accounted for almost 20%, followed by nuclear energy and natural gas (12% each).

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