Merkel's `Black Gold' Loses Shine as Lignite Phase-Out Begins

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  • Future of plants not in reserve uncertain, Berenberg says
  • Government targets coal closures to meet 2030 emissions target

A giant excavator and mining machinery operate at an open pit lignite mine, operated by RWE AG in Hambach, Germany.

Photographer: Jasper Juinen/Bloomberg

Less than two years ago, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government dubbed lignite East Germany’s “black gold.” Last week, she reached a deal with utilities that analysts at Berenberg and B. Metzler Seel Sohn & Co. see as the start of the phaseout for the dirtiest power-plant fuel.

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