Germany is set to tear down a wind farm to make room for a coal mine expansion.
German energy giant RWE is set to demolish the turbines and expand a neighbouring coal mine to alleviate the country’s energy crisis, which was prompted by Germany’s sanctions on Russian liquid natural gas, which Europe greatly depends upon.
The wind farm, near the town of Lützerath, will be used to expand the Garzweiler open pit mine in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia.
Eight wind turbines are expected to be dismantled, with one removed last week, two to be deconstructed next year, with the final five torn down by the end of 2023.
RWE spokesperson Guido Steffen said in a statement, “We realize this comes across as paradoxical, but that is as matters stand.”
The Ministry of Economy of North Rhine-Westphalia added, “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."
RWE will also reactivate three lignite-fired coal units that were 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 stated 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.”
Germany’s cabinet approved the decision to activate the discontinued coal units to boost energy supplies, as the country struggles to import enough energy due to the Russia-Ukraine conflict.