Draft law shows Germany plans to revise key emissions target for energy sector

The opencast lignite mine Nochten and the coal-fired Boxberg Power Station, operated by Lausitz Energie Bergbau AG (LEAG) company, is pictured in Nochten, Germany, March 22, 2022. REUTERS/Matthias Rietschel

BERLIN, July 5 (Reuters) - Germany's ruling coalition is to revise a key climate target to reach greenhouse gas emissions neutrality in the country's energy industry by 2035, a draft law seen by Reuters showed on Tuesday.

The draft law, which the lower house of parliament will vote on on Thursday, withdraws the 2035 climate goal for the energy sector and instead aims to reach the target after coal-fired energy plants are phased out. There was no new date set for this in the draft legislation.

The German economy ministry was not immediately available for comment.

Before the Ukraine conflict, Germany was aiming to phase out coal by 2030, but with falling Russian gas supplies, the government last month said it could restart coal-fired power plants that it had aimed to phase out. read more

Berlin is also trying to build up wind and solar power to wean itself off Russian gas. Russia accounted for about 55% of Germany's gas imports in 2021.

The draft law also showed that government subsidies for renewable energy will also expire with the shutdown of the last coal-fired power plant, without providing a clear deadline for the planned phase-out of the coal-fired plants.

The draft bill also includes an amendment to a nature conservation law giving more priority for wind energy over species conservation in some areas and aims to accelerate renewable energy permits by classifying renewable energy as being in the public interest and serving public security.

Last month, Germany's economy and climate ministry presented a package of measures to speed up the expansion of onshore wind power generation, including setting out a minimum percentage of land each federal state must make available for wind farms. read more

Reporting by Markus Wacket and Riham Alkousaa Editing by Miranda Murray and Jane Merriman

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