Statement by Svenja Schulze for the Powering Past Coal Alliance (PPCA) "Global Summit"

Porträtfoto von Bundesumweltministerin Svenja Schulze
German Federal Minister for the Environment Svenja Schulze gave a statement for the Powering Past Coal Alliance (PPCA) "Global Summit".

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Dear Minister Trevelyan,
Minister Wilkinson,
Dear Colleagues,
Ladies and gentlemen,

In a world that wants to become climate neutral by the second half of the century at the latest, coal-based power is an outdated model. More and more countries and investors are already turning to sustainable alternatives. Coal-based power has passed its peak.

By phasing out coal, countries are not just fulfilling the goals of the Paris Agreement — the general public and businesses also profit for very different reasons.

  • Shutting down the power plants reduces air pollution. And a healthier environment improves quality of life.
  • Heat waves and droughts make coal-based power more unreliable as they force the plants to shut down. Newer technologies are more reliable in this regard.
  • Many businesses are already suffering huge losses because coal is no longer competitive.

Investments in renewable energies, however, clearly offer a competitive edge. Today, they are already more cost-effective and create new jobs. Energy efficiency, storage technologies and modern grids strengthen energy independence and the domestic economy.

It is the task of policy-makers to actively shape the transition away from coal towards renewable energies and to ensure it is socially equitable. This can also be achieved in locations with coal-fired power plants, as we have seen with the Hamburg-Moorburg plant in Germany.

Moorburg began operating in 2015 with a capacity of 1.6 gigawatts, making it one of the most modern power plants in the world.

As you know, just over a year ago the German government made the decision to phase out coal. Under the coal phase-out plan, it was agreed that power plant operators will receive close-down premiums. The level of these premiums is determined in a market tender process.

The operators of the Hamburg-Moorburg plant decided to take part in the first tender process. The result is that after just five years in operation, the plant was shut down. Another clear sign that coal has no future.

In collaboration with the companies Shell, Mitsubishi and Vattenfall, the Moorburg plant will now be turned into a site for the production and storage of green hydrogen. This is the first step towards creating a modern green energy hub. A port and industrial city like Hamburg offers the ideal conditions for this.

Those still investing in coal today are missing out on the opportunity to shape our future. That is why Germany is pursuing close international cooperation in all areas of the energy transition. We can only achieve a sustainable energy future that ensures prosperity, security and a good quality of life by working together.

Thank you very much.

02.03.2021 | Speech Climate