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6 December 2021

Germany’s new government could help bring an end to coal in the EU

The country’s target of phasing out the fossil fuel completely means electricity generation from coal in the EU is projected to reduce by 58 per cent by 2030.

By Nick Ferris

Olaf Scholz is set to be given the keys to the German Chancellery this week. It brings to an end Angela Merkel’s 16-year reign, after the German Green Party followed the pro-business Free Democrats and centre-left SPD (Scholz’s party) in approving the new “traffic light” coalition agreement. Parliament is now expected to elect Scholz on Wednesday (8 December).

The Green vote passed with an 86 per cent majority (from a 57 per cent turnout), but many members remain unhappy over concessions, such as the agreement to build more gas-fired power stations, or the failure to improve the country’s target to reduce emissions 65 per cent by 2030 from the 1990 level.

However, the agreement is significant in that it commits Germany’s new government to phasing out coal and achieving 80 per cent renewable energy by 2030. Germany is currently Europe’s largest consumer of coal.

Analysis from think tank Ember finds that, in less than two years since EU countries submitted National Energy Plans for 2030 to the European Commission, projected electricity generation from coal at the end of the decade has now been reduced by 58 per cent, from 282 terawatt-hours (TWh) to 118TWh. 

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As things stand, just three countries – Poland, Czechia and Bulgaria – will be responsible for more than 95% of EU power generation from coal in 2030.

[See also: Merkel bows out but don’t expect drastic change in Germany]

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