German energy giant RWE has begun dismantling a number of wind turbines to make way for the expansion of its Garzweiler coal mine. A total of eight wind turbines will be dismantled. This is being done to ensure the energy security of Germany, which continues to struggle with the consequences of the energy crisis associated with sanctions against Russia.
The expansion of the quarry for the extraction of so-called brown coal – the dirtiest in terms of emissions generated – has been agreed upon with the authorities of the country and the region. The company was allowed to extract an additional 15-20 million tons of coal in this section in exchange for a promise to phase out coal mining in the country until 2030 (8 years earlier than previously agreed). German Economy Minister Robert Habeck touted the arrangement as “the right decision” and Green Party politician Oliver Krisch described the quarry expansion and earlier phase-out as “one of the greatest achievements we have achieved in recent years.”
It should be said that the dismantled wind generators were in operation for about 10 years. However, the company that built them was no longer involved in the project, and maintaining the generators in working order was fraught with difficulties. Therefore, dismantling the facility was an objectively justified decision, although the expansion of brown coal mining itself was met with sharp criticism from environmental activists. Analysts largely agree with them. Aurora estimates that the expansion of the Garzweiler mine will result in the country exceeding its climate change commitments.
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