Owner Vattenfall is closing the 188MW Klingenberg lignite plant after sustained pressure from local campaigners.
Today marks another step towards a coal-free Europe as one of Berlin’s four remaining coal power plants ceases operation. And, in a significant win for local campaigners, the plant will not be replaced with a new coal plant as originally planned.
Although campaigners are disappointed with plans to replace the plant with a combined gas turbine instead of with renewable power, the plant’s closure is a clear step in the right direction.
Laura Weis from Kohleausstieg Berlin said:
“Today’s developments are a great success for our local coalition against coal in Berlin and another step towards ending coal across the whole of Europe. Phasing out coal as fast as possible is important for the climate, our health and human rights – in Berlin, Germany, Europe and worldwide.”
Kathrin Gutmann, Coal Policy Coordinator at CAN Europe said:
“Congratulations, Berlin – another one down on the way to a European coal phase-out by 2030. Beyond closures, it is important for cities and countries to put in place a managed coal phase out with the goal of moving quickly to a fully renewables-based electricity system.”
In November 2016, the then newly elected Berlin-state coalition government pledged to become coal-free by 2030, although campaign groups say that Berlin needs a significantly earlier phase-out date. Alongside this, the soon to be established German Federal Commission on Growth, Structural Change, and Regional Development needs to come forward with recommendations for a “just transition” away from coal in the German lignite-heavy regions by the end of next year.
Today’s closure marks the 12th coal plant in Europe to come offline since January 2016. But there is still a way to go, with coal generation responsible for 18% of the EU’s total greenhouse gas emissions and 23,000 premature deaths from pollution. In Germany, the number of premature deaths attributable to coal pollution is estimated to be 4,350.