German energy giant RWE to end coal use by 2030

BERLIN (AP): German energy giant RWE said Tuesday that it will phase out the burning of coal by 2030, saving 280 million metric tons of climate-changing greenhouse gas emissions.

The decision will accelerate the closure of some of Europe’s most polluting power plants and a vast lignite strip mine in the west of the country.

Resident of several villages and farms west of Cologne near the Garzweiler mine will no longer face eviction. The exception is Luetzerath, a hamlet that has been the focus of protestsby environmentalists and which will now need to be cleared to extract more coal in the short-term. The government argues this is necessary to ensure energy security amid the fallout of Russia’s attack on Ukraine.

The announcement Tuesday boosts the German government’s efforts to bring forward the deadline for coal use by eight years from 2038 as part of the country’s goal of ending its greenhouse gas emissions by 2045. Economy Minister Robert Habeck, who is responsible for energy, said negotiations with the operators of Germany’s other coal mines and eight coal-fired power plants were ongoing.

In parallel to its phaseout of coal, RWE will expand its renewable energy production and build gas-fired power plants capable of burning hydrogen, the company said.

RWE, which announced the purchase of Con Edison Clean Energy Businesses in the United States at the weekend, said it is now on a path that is compatible with the 2015 Paris climate accord’s goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 Fahrenheit).