Germany pledges companies billions in compensation for coal exit

BERLIN, Jan 16 (Reuters) - German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz pledged billions in compensation to companies affected by a plan to shutter the country’s brown coal-fired power stations by 2038, telling a news conference that a law promoting renewables would follow.

Companies in western Germany would receive 2.6 billion euros’ compensation, and those in the eastern Germany 1.75 billion euros, he said.

Economy Minister Peter Altmaier said the law on exiting coal power - the result of protracted negotiations between the federal government and governments in coal-mining regions - would likely be brought before parliament on January 29. It specifies that the last coal-fired plant must be shuttered by 2038.

“What we have here is a good agreement for climate protection because it makes it clear that we are taking it seriously,” he told reporters. (Reporting by Thomas Escritt Editing by Michelle Martin)