According to Economics Minister Robert Habeck, the phase-out of coal in East Germany should only be brought forward if the energy supply remains secure. "We can and may and we will not do anything that endangers the security of supply not only in Lusatia or in East Germany, but in Germany," said the Green politician live on Wednesday at a conference in Cottbus.
In the interests of climate protection, the coalition of SPD, Greens and FDP wants to "ideally" bring the end of coal mining and coal-fired power generation from 2038 to 2030. For the Rhenish mining area, this has meanwhile been established. Habeck also wants acceleration for the East German coalfields. However, he encounters criticism from the affected federal states of Brandenburg, Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt.
Habeck said it was 100 percent correct that the prime ministers insisted on security of supply. If the expansion of renewable energies and the grid is delayed for whatever reason, "then we will always keep the reserve and continue to generate electricity," he said, referring to coal. At the same time, Habeck pointed out that generating electricity from lignite would soon become more expensive due to the rising prices for CO2 certificates. This scenario must be understood and analyzed, said the minister.
Association: Enormous time pressure
The Federal Association of Energy and Water Management, which organized the conference on structural change, referred to the enormous time pressure in the energy transition. By 2030, wind power on land will be doubled and solar energy quadrupled, said BDEW boss Kerstin Andreae. She called for secure investment conditions and criticized EU plans for long-term skimming off of high profits from energy companies.
Habeck then announced that, in his view, the German siphoning off of excess profits could expire in the middle of the year. "Now at the moment there is nothing left to skim off because the markets have calmed down again," said the Green politician. "We no longer need a bureaucratic instrument that no longer has any effect."
Skimming off last year's very high profits was introduced to finance the German gas and electricity price brakes. It has been in effect since December 1st and currently until June 30th, but could be extended until the end of April 2024. Habeck said: "We have very precise forecasts of how the electricity markets, including the gas markets, but the electricity markets will develop. Thank God we have left the high-price phase behind us. That's why we no longer need the instruments afterwards."
BDEW boss: price brakes far too complicated
BDEW boss Andreae criticized that the price brakes were far too complicated. The suppliers have taken on a sovereign task for which the state is actually responsible. "It has to be unique," she said. The state must find its own ways to reach citizens directly with financial aid - Andreae spoke of a "payment path - income-related, socially graded, whatever".
The price brakes for gas and electricity have been in effect since Wednesday. This caps the prices for consumers and companies for 80 percent of consumption.