Germany has been rushing to shut down the traditional foundation of its national power system, which includes coal and nuclear power. But at this point, the finance minister of the coalition government says the random date of 2030 as the end of coal use may be wrong.
German Finance Minister Christian Lindner has questioned the wisdom of rushing toward a future without coal when there isn’t a reliable source of energy that can replace it. He is worried that requiring plants to shut down will not help the market during a time when energy bills are already at record highs. Before the earlier deadline of 2038 that had been agreed upon, Germany made a commitment in 2022 to completely phase out power generated from coal by 2030.
Lindner was questioned by the west-German daily paper Kolner Stadt-Anzeiger why he was against the support plan that was being talked about for assisting German industry. Part of this plan would have been to subsidize energy to make German companies more competitive on the world market. For his part, the liberal official said that the issue with a subsidy is the fact that taxpayers will pay for it in the end, whether it’s by means of a tax or a subsidy, arguing that the best solution is to make energy cheaper by increasing supply.
He went even further and talked about how pushing for green goals can limit supply. “To put this simply, energy is overpriced when it becomes scarce,” he claimed. “That’s why power plants shouldn’t be shut down right now. Don’t think about getting rid of power generated from coal in 2030 until it’s proven that energy has become available and cheap. This date doesn’t change anything about the environment because, according to European rules, the CO2 emissions that were saved in Germany can be made again in Poland, for example.”
According to Lindner, Germany should try to get more energy from renewable sources. He also said that burning greater quantities of natural gas became part of the answer, but that “money can’t solve physical scarcity.” He said that Angela Merkel’s government was to blame for the closing of coal plants and Germany’s nuclear power plants, even though the last nuclear plants shut down earlier this year under the direction of the government he is in now.
It seems like Lindner waved off criticism of that choice by saying it was already made and shouldn’t be talked about again. He also said it wasn’t worth crying over spilled milk.
Bijan Djir-Sarai, a member of Lindner’s party, said earlier this year that shutting down the last nuclear plants was a “strategic mistake” because the engines continued to prove useful to the country. They were supposed to shut down for good in 2022, but after Russia attacked Ukraine, they were allowed to stay open longer.