The head of lignite producer Mibrag, Armin Eichholz, currently sees little chance of a premature coal phase-out in the east. "Our planning basis is still 2034/2035," Eichholz told the German Press Agency. Although he cannot rule out a ban on coal-fired power generation as early as 2030, he does not see it happening "at the moment".
Mibrag operates the Vereinigtes Schleenhain and Profen opencast mines in Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt. The coal is used to generate electricity in the Schkopau and Lippendorf power plants, which are due to be taken off the grid in 2034/2035. The coalition government of the SPD, Greens and FDP had agreed to ideally bring forward the coal phase-out in the east from 2038 to 2030. The Minister Presidents of Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Brandenburg are opposed to this.
The accelerated expansion of renewable energies is already putting economic pressure on coal-fired power generation, said Eichholz. At the same time, however, the question is what the future supply will look like when there are lulls and little sunshine. There are plans to build around 40 gas-fired power plant units by 2030, but it is questionable whether this can be achieved.
"It will be necessary to keep power plants running in times of a short supply of renewable energies. In my view, the issue of nuclear energy is over. And if the gas-fired power plants don't come on time, then it can only be coal," said Eichholz. But whether this is still worthwhile for the power plant operators is also a big question.
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