Policy & Regulation

04 Dec 2019

Germany Delays Vote on Coal Law Until After SPD Congress

04 Dec 2019  by MONTEL   
Germany's cabinet has deferred consideration of a proposed coal exit law until beyond a Social Democrat party convention that is likely to add strain to the governing coalition, sources told Montel on Tuesday.

Delegates at the SPD party congress over the coming weekend are expected to approve the new party leaders, leftwingers Norbert Walter-Borjans and Saskia Eskens.

The duo last weekend beat a ticket led by finance minister Olaf Scholtz amid rising dissatisfaction within the party over its trajectory in coalition with chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Union (CDU/CSU).

The left of the party has expressed frustration with a range of compromises, including a proposed climate law many deem too timid.

The new leaders are likely to push for more concessions to raise climate ambitions from their coalition partners, which could involve delaying the coal exit law.

“We are working hard to put it [the coal exit law draft] on the cabinet’s agenda as soon as possible,” Anna Sophie Eichler, spokeswoman of Germany’s economy and energy ministry, told Montel.

“I expect the coal exit draft law to be on the cabinet agenda after the SPD party convention,” said Oliver Krischer, energy expert from the opposition Green party.

Others suggested the legislation may not pass this year. “If you look at the calendar there is not much time left [before year-end],” said a source at an energy lobby group.

The cabinet usually meets once a week, allowing for just two more meetings before Christmas. The next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday 11 December.

An earlier draft of the law suggested Germany would tender 4 GW of hard coal closures next summer. Meanwhile, negotiations continue over closures of lignite-fired units.

Earlier on Tuesday Stefan Kapferer, new head of German TSO 50 Hertz and previously head of the BDEW energy industry lobby, urged the German government to provide clarity on its coal exit policy “as soon as possible”. It would make a huge difference for the TSO to know which units leave the market and when, he added.

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