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The Rhenish lignite mining region in western Germany is a rural area with 2.5 million inhabitants, where coal mines and power plants employ 10,000 people. The availability of cheap lignite supported the development of a strong energy-intensive industrial sector which provides more than 90,000 jobs in the region.

Lignite has been extracted in the region since the 17th century, with the industrial revolution giving rise to lignite mining industries and power generation starting in the beginning of the 20th century.
While the area has a highly diversified economic structure, many of the other industries are directly dependent on the lignite-based electricity infrastructure.


In 2020, the German Government adopted the Act on the Phase‐out of Coal‐fired Power Plants which provides for the reduction and termination of hard coal and lignite-based electricity generation.

The Rhenish Lignite District itself had started activities as early as 2014 in order to prepare and design this structural change process, envisaging an end of the lignite ecosystem in 2050, supporting the requalification and retraining of the workers in the region working in impacted

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