The German government wants to delay plans to get rid of coal power until after the country’s 2017 federal elections, according to government documents obtained by Bloomberg News Tuesday.
A policy document intended for Chancellor Angela Merkel, obtained by Bloomberg News, states the government should postpone firm decisions on shutting down the country’s coal power plants until after elections take place, as plans to do so are “politically controversial.” The document was drafted by Merkel’s chancellery.
Germany’s environmental minister previously said in January that the country plans to eliminate most coal power by 2050. The German government declined to comment to Bloomberg on plans to shut down coal power after the election.
The end of coal power in Germany will likely drive power prices even higher. The average German already pays 39 cents per kilowatt-hour for electricity due to intense fiscal support for green energy. The average American only spends 10.4 cents per kilowatt-hour.
Coal currently provides about 44 percent of German electricity, and has largely replaced nuclear power after the government shut down the country’s nuclear reactors. Nuclear power made up 29.5 percent of Germany’s energy in 2000. The share dropped down to 17 percent in 2015, and by 2022 the country intends to have every one of its nuclear plants shut down. This shift caused Germany’s carbon dioxide emissions to actually rise by 28 million tons each year after the country’s nuclear policy changed.