The final report of the German Commission for Growth, Structural Change and Employment (Coal Exit Commission) was delivered in January 2019, and is now available in an English language version. The Clean Energy Wire is a German news service written in English, and updates the implementation of the Report’s recommendations. For example, an article from April 4 states that Germany’s federal government and coal mining states have agreed on a programme worth 260 million euros to provide fast support to regions affected by the coal exit – a first step in the estimated 40 billion euros needed over the next 20 years. On April 8, it published “Mining union wants more efforts to unleash energy transition’s job potentials” , providing an English language summary of German statements by the leader of IG BCE.
The Wuppertal Institute commented on the Commission’s findings and made its own recommendations in Assessment of the Results of the Commission on Structural Change . The report commends the Commission for finding a consensus path forward amidst very strong competing interests, but looking ahead, it calls for public education and acceptance, as well as policy tools “to push ahead vigorously with the expansion of renewable energies, to create the necessary framework conditions with the expansion of the electricity grid and to implement a holistic approach to the energy transition which, above all, takes the potential of energy efficiency into account to a much greater extent than before. ”
Also in the wake of the Coal Exit Commission report, researchers at the German Institute for Economic Research , the Wuppertal Institute and the Ecologic Institute released a detailed joint report explaining why the coal phase-out is needed and how it can become a success. It also provides facts and figures on the German coal industry, including a list of all large coal plants . The summary press release is here . Phasing Out Coal in the German Energy Sector: Interdependencies, Challenges And Potential Solutions argues that the benefits of phasing out coal exceed the costs and will province new economic opportunities, with jobs in demand-management, storage, “power-to-x applications”, and efficiency technologies. Of particular interest is Section 4 of the report, which includes statistics and discussion of employment effects. Approximately 18,500 persons are employed directly in lignite-fired power plants and lignite mining, with another 4,000 to 8,000 in coal-fired power plants. The report finds that, by 2030, approximately two thirds of the direct employees would be eligible for normal retirement, and another 10% would be eligible for early retirement schemes at the age of 55. For younger employees, some jobs will be created in dismantling power plants and for remediation. For others who will need to find new jobs, the report holds up the example of Vattenfall in Berlin, where trainees under a rotation scheme can learn different skills in various functions . The report acknowledges that the wage level in the lignite industry is far higher than comparable new employment. It also discusses the availability of EU, German Government and Federal State funds to finance structural change in the lignite regions. EU support includes policy support under the Platform for Coal Regions in Transition, established in December 2017, as well as EU funds.