Germany is taking some serious strides in its attempt to reduce carbon emissions by 40 percent until 2020: the European country announced that it will shut down several coal-fired plants and move towards more sustainable energy sources.

“Coal-fired plants with a capacity of 2.7 gigawatts will be shut down,” said the government sources, who declined to say how many plants will be closed. “The affected power plants will not be allowed to sell electricity on the normal energy market,” they said, adding that with this step Germany would manage to reach its goal to curb CO2 emissions by 40 percent by 2020 compared with 1990 levels.

Germany wants to move to a green-energy economy, relying massively on wind and solar energy. Image via Clean Technica.

This is a very ambitious goal, which will require significant effort, but Germany seems committed to this goal. Furthermore, Angela Merkel and the leaders of her two junior coalition parties addressed not only the issue of energy generation, but also energy transport, settling a dispute over high-voltage power lines which are planned to carry green energy from the breezy north to the industrial south.

Coal plants have heavily protested and lobbied against this move, demanding compensation for an alternative reserve option. It’s unclear whether or not compensation will be given for the workers.

Germany’s renewable energy sector is among the most innovative and successful worldwide. Net-generation from renewable energy sources in the German electricity sector has increased from 6.3% in 2000 to about 30% in 2014 and for the first time, wind, biogas, and solar combined accounted for a larger portion of net electricity production than brown coal. Germany is often called “the world’s first major renewable energy economy”.