German coal regions will finally be able to use state support funds from the landmark phase-out agreement to help with their transition away from the fossil fuel. Federal and state governments are set to sign a deal in Berlin on Wednesday to make official the 40 billion euros in support that are part of the plan to exit coal-fired power generation by 2038 at the latest. The governments are also creating a task force to coordinate the support across the country to ensure swift implementation of specific projects. Dietmar Woidke, Brandenburg’s state premier, said his region had what it takes to become a model region for climate-friendly industry.

Germany’s coal mining states can start implementing concrete projects to make their regions future-proof and help them transition away from the fossil fuel they have depended on for decades. Representatives from federal and state governments meet in Berlin Wednesday (27 August) to sign an agreement on the 40 billion euros in support to ensure a just transition for coal regions.

“The coal regions will be European model regions for the economy, innovation and future energy supply,” Reiner Haseloff, state premier of Saxony-Anhalt, told Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.

Today’s support agreement is part of the larger coal exit plan decided by Germany this year. In a vote hailed as “historic”, Germany’s parliament in July adopted the law that will ensure the phase-out of coal power by no later than 2038. The decision had followed two years of intense debate about the country’s climate action ambition and the changes needed to meet them. The efforts aimed to reconcile interests in a broad compromise, but they ended in discord. While the law indeed marked a crucial step in the German Energiewende, it failed to garner widespread support and has instead drawn heavy criticism for falling short of climate targets and granting coal companies too much compensation.

Parliament also adopted the law governing support payments for mining regions. The coal states will receive a total of 14 billion euros until 2038 for direct investments in the regions and the federal government will provide another 26 billion euros to implement “further measures” to strengthen local economies.

The federal government and states are also creating a task force to coordinate the support across the country to ensure swift implementation of specific projects. The new body is meant to ensure a balanced distribution of funds and provide optimal support for the coal regions.

Brandenburg could become model region for climate-friendly industry – state premier

Dietmar Woidke, the premier of the Eastern German state of Brandenburg, sees a great opportunity in the coal exit for his region, reports public broadcaster rbb. “The state of Brandenburg has what it takes to be a model region in Germany for how climate-friendly CO₂-free industrial production can be successful,” Woidke said in a statement. “Without this excellent reputation, Tesla would have never been interested in the additional location in Berlin-Brandenburg,” he added. The US carmaker last year announced that it would build a gigafactory for e-car production near Berlin and has since started construction on the plant.

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