Germany will pay €40 billion to fund the economic transition from coal to more environmentally friendly forms of energy.

Currently, coal and lignite account for 40% of German electricity production. The current government plan envisages the end of coal-generated energy production by 2038.

The money will pay for targeted action following the closure of coal mines in eastern Germany and the Rhineland, compensating factories and supporting the workforce. “This is the first time in postwar history that we are responding to structural change before the change actually happens,” economy minister Peter Altmaier said.

The €40 billion fund will pay for a cluster of infrastructure projects in expected regions, including motorway and railway links, internet and telephone coverage, whilst also shifting 5,000 public service jobs to affected regions.