German coal commission wants to protect consumers from rising electricity prices

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BERLIN, Jan. 23 (Xinhua) -- The German coal commission plans to protect consumers from rising electricity prices due to Germany's phase-out of coal-based energy generation, German media reported on Wednesday.

"A reduction of transmission network charges at an appropriate level" should be considered and "necessary budgetary resources" should be made available, according to a draft report for the next meeting of the coal commission on Friday.

In 2018, the German government established the coal commission in order to draw up a plan for the coal phase out. It brings together politicians, industry figures, economic experts as well as environmental associations and regional representatives.

On Tuesday, Germany's economics minister Altmaier had already called for the compensation of electricity cost to "continue beyond 2020" in order to maintain the German industry's price competitiveness.

The German coal commission intends to phase out coal in accordance with the coal power plant operators. However, if there is no agreement reached by mid-2020 on the specific conditions for phasing out of coal energy, the commission suggests that the German government steps in and applies coercive measures.

The final date on which the last coal-fired power plant in Germany will be shut down is still not determined in the draft report of the Coal Commission. Currently, Germany generates more than one third of its electricity by coal-fired power plants.

Economics minister Altmaier expects that the entire process of phasing out of coal would not be over anytime soon. "We will still be talking about coal in 2080", said Altmaier.

Germany's coal commission now plans to implement checkpoints in the years 2023, 2026 and 2029 when the conditions of the phase out will be subject to a "comprehensive review by an independent panel of experts".