Germany Disbands Wind Farm for Coal Mine Expansion

Last Updated on October 29, 2022

A wind farm in Germany is being torn down in order to expand operations at an adjacent coal mine. Germany has been particularly hard hit by continent-wide energy shortages due to E.U. sanctions on Russian oil, as well as recently announced OPEC production cuts. While climate change activists have successfully lobbied for alternative energy projects, including wind farms, the energy crisis is forcing the nation to reconsider options like coal.

Eight of the wind farms turbines were dismantled last week while two more are slated for removal next month. The additional turbines will be removed by the end of 2023.

German energy company RWE, which operates a coal mine just next to the wind farm, said the operation is necessary. “We realize this comes across as paradoxical,” RWE spokesperson Guido Steffen told the Guardian. “But that is as matters stand.”

As part of the expansion, RWE will be returning three lignite-fired coal units to the market, a decision that was approved by Germany’s cabinet. The units were previously on standby as Germany tried to prioritize “green” alternatives such as solar and wind, while lessening dependence on coal, and even nuclear energy.

Each of the returning units has a capacity of 300 megawatts. “With their deployment, they contribute to strengthening the security of supply in Germany during the energy crisis and to saving natural gas in electricity generation,” RWE said in September.

“Originally, it was planned that the three reserve power plant units affected would be permanently shut down on September 30, 2022, and September 30, 2023, respectively,” RWE added.

The German government hopes the project will help the nation cope with potential energy shortages as winter approaches. Earlier this month, German Federal Economy Minister Robert Habeck expressed concern that the nation could run out of gas this winter.

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Cullen McCue