From Coal to Renewables

Although there is a growing recognition in Germany that a phase out of coal will be ultimately inevitable to meet the climate targets, the recent debates on “Klimabeitrag” and “Sicherheitsbereitschaft” have shown how controversial political action to curb coal-fired power generation is. There are still powerful interests in favor of maintaining lignite mining and coal-fired power generation as long as possible. Nevertheless, market conditions are significantly changing for coal power production due to decreasing electricity prices. This enforces pressure to find political responses on coal. To overcome the political deadlock and to enter a debate on how to shape the coal phase out a political process is needed that broadly involves stakeholders, is targeted and creates the basis for a stable long-term solution.

One of the key challenges of the coal phase-out is its strong impact on the socio-economy of the lignite mining regions. Especially in rather rural Lusatia value creation and jobs connected to lignite mining and power generation characterize the regional economy. The coal phase-out requires but also gives the chance to develop a new vision and economic perspective for this region. A strong contribution by local enterprises, universities, civil society and politics will be crucial in this process to create local ownership. However, learning from the experience of other former mining regions and/or structurally weak regions that already made progress in their socio-economic transformation will be valuable for Lusatia and Brandenburg/Saxony.

The “From Coal to Renewables” project wants to give practical and target-aimed advice to policy makers based on thorough analysis of problems, strong interaction with practitioners and policy makers and learning from experience combined with contextualisation.