How Germany is phasing out lignite: insights from the Coal Commission and local communities

Publikation: Beiträge in ZeitschriftenZeitschriftenaufsätzeForschungbegutachtet


Background: This article asks the following question: how well are coal regions, affected by phase-out plans, represented in mediating commissions, to what extent do local communities participate in the decision-making process and how are the political negotiations perceived by the communities? We look at the case of the German lignite phase-out from a procedural justice perspective. Informed by literature on sociotechnical decline and procedural justice in energy transitions, we focus first on aspects of representation, participation and recognition within the German Commission on Growth, Structural Change and Employment (“Coal Commission”). Second, we analyze how to exnovate coal in two regions closely tied to the coal- and lignite-based energy history in Germany: Lusatia and the Rhenish Mining District. Results: Based on interview series in both regions, we connect insights from local communities with strategies for structural change and participation programs in the regions. We find significant differences between the two regions, which is primarily an effect of the challenging historical experiences in Lusatia. Participation within existing arrangements is not sufficient to solve these problems; they require a comprehensive strategy for the future of the regions. Conclusions: We conclude that the first phase-out process was a lost opportunity to initiate a community-inclusive sustainable transition process. As the phase-out process is not yet concluded, additional efforts and new strategies are needed to resolve the wicked problem of lignite phase-out.

ZeitschriftEnergy, Sustainability and Society
Anzahl der Seiten18
PublikationsstatusErschienen - 12.2024

Bibliographische Notiz

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024, The Author(s).