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Economy Minister Confident Germany Could Phase Out Coal By 2030

Germany continues to target phasing out coal by 2030, German Economy Minister Robert Habeck of the Green party told Bloomberg TV in an interview on Friday.

Germany has decided to accelerate the coal phase-out to 2030, from an earlier planned date of 2038, but Europe’s largest economy has reactivated some mothballed coal-fired power plants since last year when Russian natural gas supply ceased.    

Earlier this week, Habeck’s coalition partner and finance minister, Christian Lindner, questioned the 2030 coal phase-out timeline. 

“Until it is clear that energy is available and affordable, we should end the dreams of phasing out electricity from coal in 2030,” Lindner said in an interview with the German daily Koelner Stadt-Anzeiger published on Thursday.

On Friday, economy minister Habeck told Bloomberg TV that it is “absolutely” the plan to retire all coal plants by 2030.

The EU raising the cost of carbon emissions will allow the market to solve the issue, according to Habeck.

“I think past 2030 you won’t earn money with coal power plants anymore,” the minister told Bloomberg.

Without Russian gas, last year’s energy and gas crisis in Germany, and in Europe, has been keeping utilities and governments on edge and ready to have mothballed coal-fired power plants on stand-by in the coldest winter days to ensure the security of electricity supply.

Last month, Germany’s government said it was bringing back online several coal-fired units for this winter in an attempt to save natural gas and avoid power supply shortfalls. Some coal-fired blocks operated by RWE and LEAG will be temporarily reactivated until March 2024 as a precautionary measure to safeguard electricity supply in the coming winter.

Those coal units were already operational during the 2022/2023 winter when Germany was shocked into a severely reduced gas supply with the end of Russian pipeline deliveries. The backup coal capacity was put on stand-by this summer until the government now decided to reactivate them for the winter.

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By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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