Sources: German government plans coal phase-out compensation talks

The operators of coal mines in Germany are to meet with the government early next week to discuss compensation for the country’s plans to phase out the industry, sources involved in the negotiations said on Friday.

Chancellor Angela Merkel is then scheduled to meet the premiers of Germany’s coal-producing states late Wednesday, they said.

German energy giant RWE could receive up to 2 billion euros (2.2 billion dollars) to cover the costs of giving up coal, according to a report in the Rheinische Post newspaper.

In addition, the government could also pay out funds to employees who lose their jobs in lignite mining in the Rhine region.

Last year, RWE chief executive Rolf Schmitz had demanded up to 1.5 billion euros in compensation for every gigawatt of output to be taken off the grid by 2022.

The government is also under pressure from states in the former East Germany, where per capita gross domestic product has for years stagnated at around 70 per cent of that in the west, amid concerns that the policy shift could exacerbate economic inequality in the formerly divided country.

The German government is currently aiming to phase out coal by 2038 as part of efforts to transition towards cleaner energy.

A government commission recommended in its final report early last year that more than 40 billion euros be set aside to pay for the restructuring of the energy industry.

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