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Domestic raw materials will still be in demand for decades to come

“Domestic lignite will still be essential for securing Germany’s energy supply for decades yet,” emphasized Helmar Rendez, the new Executive Board Member of the German Federal Association for Lignite Production (DEBRIV) at this year’s Braunkohlentag conference in Halle/Saale. Rendez indicated that the early shut-down of more lignite power stations would have a serious impact on service and supply companies and whole economic regions, since: “A change in fuel demands of power stations changes the face of strip mining operations and has effects on the planning and approval conditions in mining districts, with far-reaching consequences for communities and regions.” It is therefore beyond question that the politically motivated structural changes in the mining districts will have a better chance of success if planned in cooperation with the lignite companies, rather than without the involvement of the people and companies who have lived here for many decades and who work in the lignite industry.

Rendez also emphasized that the federal government must focus more intensely on the energy economy triad of reliable supply, economic viability, and environmental protection in their decision-making on energy policy. He also called for their assurance that structural interruptions in the regions will be avoided.

So far, according to the DEBRIV, it is utterly unclear how the political energy transition targets of reducing national greenhouse gas emissions by 55 % before 2030 compared with 1990, and for renewable energy sources to make up 65 % of the gross electricity consumption can actually be reconciled with the requirements of a reliable and economically viable electricity supply. In their planned impact assessment, the federal government commission for “growth, structural change and employment” must also propose solutions to deal with the discussed measures. Rendez: “We know that lignite reliably supplies electricity and heat, while the renewable energy sources are not yet in a position to dependably supply consumers with continuous electricity or to secure the reliability and stability of the mains network, and will not be for the foreseeable future.”

“The four German states of North Rhine-Westphalia, Brandenburg, Saxony, and Saxony-Anhalt, in which lignite is currently extracted, demonstrate how to design a reliable energy policy,” emphasizes Rendez. “In the coming weeks, voices of reason are needed more than ever,” he explained, with a view to the government commission for growth, structural change and employment, and the realignment of the national energy and climate policy. (DEBRIV/Si.)