In the throes of an energy crisis, a German energy company is moving forward with plans to dismantle a wind farm adjacent to its coal mine in order to expand operations.
The removal of one of the wind farm’s eight wind turbines occurred last week, with two more coming down next year and the rest getting removed by the end of 2023.
Recognizing the “paradoxical” nature of the situation, Germany energy company RWE, which operates the Garzweiler coal mine, said it’s necessary.
"We realize this comes across as paradoxical," RWE spokesperson Guido Steffen told the Guardian. "But that is as matters stand."
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.
This is a wind park close to the German coal mine Garzweiler. It's getting deconstructed for more coal mining! Because the german government (with Greens as part of the coalition locally and nationally) gave in to the demands of the fossil fuel industry. You cannot make this up. pic.twitter.com/VwDAwgLlHs— Johannes Fehr (@JohannesFehr) October 20, 2022
The ministry for economic and energy affairs of the state of North-Rhine Westphalia, meanwhile, is urging RWE to reconsider its plans.
“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 spokesperson told the Guardian.