How to (not) phase-out coal: Lessons from Germany for Just and Timely Coal Exits
The age of coal in Europe is coming to its end. Coal is increasingly becoming unprofitable compared to renewable energies and is viewed as a financial risk by investors. Moreover, political and social barriers to the coal phase-out continue to exist. Past experiences show that phasing out coal is a difficult process particularly in countries that rely heavily on coal for electricity generation. The decision of Germany, the second largest coal country in the EU, to exit coal sends an important signal globally. However, while the German coal phase-out provides German coal regions with support to move beyond coal, it also has many weaknesses that other countries seeking to chart their path out of coal should be careful not to replicate. This paper offers nine lessons from the German experience that can serve as benchmarks for just and timely coal phase-out processes elsewhere.