0655 GMT March 20, 2019
The so-called coal commission said last month that Germany should shut down all of its coal-fired power plants by 2038 at the latest and proposed at least 40 billion euros ($45.7 billion) in aid to coal-mining states affected by the phase-out, Reuters reported.
"We want to be out of coal in 2038. Then we need more gas," Merkel said in a speech at Keio University in Tokyo, in her first clear indication that she supported the recommendation.
The proposals highlight Germany's shift to renewables, which made up more than 40 percent of its energy mix last year, surpassing coal for the first time. They must now be implemented by the German government and 16 regional states.
The plan, however, has drawn criticism from some in industry who fear the impact of higher energy prices.
A senior legislator from the most pro-business wing in Merkel's party hinted in a weekend newspaper interview that the phase-out could be delayed beyond 2038 if the deadline created problems for the security of electricity supply.