German power company dismantles wind farm to expand coal mine
In light of the ongoing energy crisis taking place in Europe as a result of Russia’s invasion in Ukraine many European nations are looking for stable energy supplies.
Among those searching for more reliable energy sources is German energy company RWE which announced that it will dismantle a wind farm to allow for an adjacent coal mine to expand.
Fox Business reported that the RWE will expand the Garzweiler coal mine, saying the decision is necessary to strengthen supplies amid the ongoing energy crisis.
“We realize this comes across as paradoxical,” RWE spokesperson Guido Steffen said in a statement. “But that is as matters stand.”
According to reports, one of the wind farm’s eight wind turbines was dismantled last week, and two others are expected to be taken down next year. The remaining five turbines will be dismantled by the end of 2023, said a spokesperson for the company that builds and runs the wind farm.
RWE’s decision to expand into the Keyenberg wind farm, which is located in North Rhine-Westphalia, has drawn the ire of climate activists.
North-Rhine Westphalia’s ministry for economic and energy affairs repeatedly advocated against the destruction of the wind turbines.
"In the current situation, all potential for the use of renewable energy should be exhausted as much as possible and existing turbines should be in operation for as long as possible," a ministry spokesperson said in a statement, according to the Guardian.
The expansion comes in tandem with a plan to temporarily return three of RWE’s lignite-fired coal units to the market, a decision that was approved by Germany’s cabinet. The units were previously on standby.
“The three lignite units each have a capacity of 300 megawatts (MW). 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.
Germany’s cabinet approved the decision to bring back the idled coal units to boost energy supplies, as energy imports remain hindered by the Russia-Ukraine War.
The expansion also comes after a legal fight for the disputed land in March of this year, when a court ruled in favor of RWE.
The turbines at the wind park were constructed more than 20 years ago and are considerably less powerful than their newer versions.
Photo: RWE's Grazwwiler Mine. Credit RWE.