A wind farm in Germany is being dismantled to expand the Garzweiler lignite mine. One of eight turbines installed at the location in 2001 has already been removed. Nevertheless, the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia said it would phase out coal by 2030, as did RWE, the company that owns the mine.
Wind turbines near the Garzweiler open pit mine in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, run by German energy giant RWE, is being removed to make way for more lignite exploitation.
The turbines were in operation since 2001, and government subsidies have expired. Energiekontor and wpd, which is also active in the Balkans, operate the wind farm.
It is unknown how long the deconstruction would take. So far, one wind turbine has been removed.
Lignite for electricity production will be extracted where the wind turbines are now located
Garzweiler’s annual production is 25 million tonnes, according to RWE. It estimated that lignite reserves in the area could last until 2045. The fuel is mostly supplied to the nearby Neurat thermal power plant.
The excavation was initially limited to an area of 66 square kilometers in the Garzweiler 1 area. The complex was extended in 2006 to the Garzweiler 2 sector over an area of 48 square kilometers.
Displacement due to coal mine expansion
The population from several municipalities in the area west of Cologne had to be relocated due to the Grazweiler mine expansion. In addition to the location of the wind farm, RWE is taking an area in and around the small town of Lützerath. It will be completely evicted and demolished.
The town has become a symbolic battlefield for climate activists in Germany.
The decision to demolish Lützerath was made in accordance with the country’s new coal policy to temporarily increase the use of lignitefor electricity production during the energy crisis, Clean Energy Wire reported.
Nevertheless, North Rhine-Westphalia has announced it would stop using fossil fuels by 2030, as did RWE.
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 court in the German town of Münster ruled this year in favor of expanding the mine. Climate activists opposed to the plans called the decision cynical and hypocritical.
The court found that no alternative surface mines would meet the necessary demand for lignite. Security of supply is currently the priority while “climate protection remains one of the key challenges of our time,” RWE pointed out and declared it seeks to support both, the article adds.
Security of supply is currently the priority, according to RWE
The Ministry of Economy of North Rhine-Westphalia elaborated on the paradoxical situation, saying the move would enable the recultivation of former coal pits, the shutdown of Garzweiler and a coal phaseout.
“If Lützerath were to be preserved, the production volume required to maintain the security of supply over the next eight years could not be achieved, the stability of the opencast mine could not be guaranteed and the necessary recultivation could not be carried out,” it said.
Vice Chancellor and Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Action Robert Habeck has said negotiations on the country’s coal phaseout were underway with operators of other mines and eight thermal power plants.