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Armin Eichholz, CEO of Mibrag GmbH, sits in one of the company's conference rooms / Photo: Jan Woitas/dpa/Production

Head of lignite producer Mibrag sees little chance of early coal phase-out in the East

The head of lignite producer Mibrag, Armin Eichholz, currently sees little chance of a premature coal phase-out in the east. Mibrag operates the Vereinigtes Schleenhain and Profen opencast mines in Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt and generates electricity from the coal in the Schkopau and Lippendorf power plants, which are due to be taken off the grid in 2034/2035. The "traffic light" federal government would ideally like to bring forward the coal phase-out in the east from 2038 to 2030, but the Minister Presidents of Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Brandenburg are against this. Eichholz emphasized that the expansion of renewable energies is putting pressure on coal-fired power generation, but that the question of supply during lulls and when there is little sunshine is also relevant. The plans envisage the construction of around 40 gas-fired power plant units by 2030, but whether this is feasible remains questionable. Eichholz also emphasized that power plants would have to keep running if the supply of renewable energies was scarce and that coal could hardly be avoided if the gas-fired power plants were not completed in time. The question of whether it is still worthwhile for the power plant operators is also open.