The Greens parliamentary group in the Bundestag is aiming for an early exit from coal by 2030 in the east of the country as well. In a draft resolution for the parliamentary group’s closed meeting next week, it says that this is a “necessary step to achieve the climate goals”. The ARD “Capital Studio” and the “Süddeutsche Zeitung” had first reported on it. The parliamentary group meets in Weimar from Tuesday to Thursday.

An earlier phase-out of coal not only makes sense in terms of climate policy, but also provides planning and investment security for local people and regions in view of new developments, the paper says. The assumption that coal-fired power generation will be economical by 2038 has now become obsolete.

In the coalition agreement, the SPD, Greens and FDP agreed to “ideally” bring the phase-out of coal forward by eight years to 2030. This was already agreed in autumn for the Rhenish mining area in the west. The next step is to bring forward the exit from lignite in the east, said Greens co-group leader Katharina Dröge. Economics Minister Robert Habeck (Greens) also spoke out in favor of this, but assured that this would have to be agreed by consensus.

Without brown cabbage: what is the alternative?

In the affected federal states of Brandenburg, Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt, an earlier exit is viewed critically. Whether the traffic light partners SPD and FDP would play along is an open question.

As an alternative to lignite-fired power plants, the paper by the Greens group talks about “hydrogen-ready gas-fired power plants”, i.e. power plants that can initially generate electricity through gas combustion, but later also from hydrogen. It is foreseeable that eastern Germany will become a region where green hydrogen is produced. “Wherever lignite is still burned today, the experience and network infrastructure can be used. This entry secures countless jobs in the power plant sector.”

Great hopes are placed in hydrogen, which is produced from renewable energies, in the energy transition. In the future, it could also be used to generate electricity. At present, however, the energy source produced from green electricity is scarce and expensive.

Haseloff: Earlier exit from coal “completely illusory”

Saxony-Anhalt’s Prime Minister Reiner Haseloff considers the earlier phase-out of coal to be unrealistic. As a result of the gradual phase-out of coal and nuclear power and the elimination of pipeline gas as a bridging technology in the energy transition, there is a power gap. It is “simply not explained how we want to achieve a self-sufficient energy supply,” said the CDU politician of the German Press Agency on the sidelines of a media conference in Tutzing, Bavaria.

“It is completely illusory to believe that a scenario can now be built after a crucial building block has been dropped as a bridging technology, which, by the way, has always been a prerequisite for us to even make it to 2038,” said Haseloff, referring to gas, which was originally used instead of Coal should be used more in power generation to reduce emissions. If the alternative then consists of importing coal-fired power from Poland or nuclear power from France, “then I have to ask whether that can be an ethical and, let’s say, value-based answer to the current problem,” added the CDU politician added.