Germany dismantles wind farm to expand coal mine
I should probably give our readers a moment to double-check and ensure that you didn’t inadvertently wander into an article from the Babylon Bee or The Onion. But the title of the article stands as is and it’s legitimate. German energy company RWE operates several different types of power generation operations in the state of North-Rhine Westphalia. At one location, they have a large lignite coal mine and a wind turbine farm located side by side. (A rather startling juxtaposition given the divisive nature of the ongoing green energy debate.) But some changes are coming, and not the sort that green energy enthusiasts are cheering about. RWE has begun taking down some of its wind turbines to make room to further expand the coal mine. A spokesperson for the company said that they realize that this development may be seen as “paradoxical.” (Townhall)
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.”
One commentator was obviously aghast at the decision and claimed that the German government had “given in to the demands of the fossil fuel industry.” That’s one of the more tone-deaf takes we’re likely to see coming out of this debate. First of all, GWE operates a coal mine and coal-fired power plants so yes, they are part of the “fossil fuel industry” by definition. But they also operate wind farms and other electricity production facilities. In other words, they’re an energy company. They exist to produce energy and keep the country on its feet.
With the loss of most Russian energy imports, particularly natural gas, Germany is facing the real possibility of lethal shortfalls this winter. They still have many natural gas-fired plants, but that gas is going to be needed for heating and cooking in the coming months to prevent people from literally freezing to death.
They also know that wind farms produce some electricity and wind power is politically popular. But sometimes the wind fails to blow and a series of bad storms can take the turbines offline. That coal mine has enough fuel to keep their coal-fired plants operating for most of the rest of this century if they choose to continue using it. And it operates at any time of day in almost any weather conditions.
Germany can’t continue to function without a stable electrical grid and sufficient heating fuels for people to survive bad weather. No developed nation can. (The Biden administration should be watching these events closely.) The German government is apparently still sufficiently anchored in reality to realize this. And if it means that a few wind turbines have to come down, well… at least some additional birds will survive the winter, right?
They’re still doing considerably better than other parts of Europe where emergency plans are already in place to prevent a systemic collapse. Would all of this be happening were it not for the ongoing economic warfare against Russia? Probably not, or at least not yet. But the single-minded focus on converting to supposedly green energy sources without planning for the long-term health of the energy grid is coming back to haunt the Europeans.
Just as in the United States, they need an “all of the above” energy policy. That can certainly include wind and solar energy where practical, but they also need nuclear power and, yes, those nasty fossil fuels. That sort of power is what has kept civilization growing over the past century. You can’t just flip it off like a light switch. Or if you do, the actual light switches might not work for much longer.