How the Germans are setting an example for us in the fight against coal

By Pavel Novotný (HN Fokus)

Coal emissions are falling much more slowly in Germany. Despite this, Europe’s largest economy is setting an example for many European states, including Slovakia, in the fight against coal and fossil fuels.

The wind is changing

Tuesday’s vote in the city of Munich was a breakthrough. The city decided to decommission its coal-fired power station 13 years earlier than originally planned. Some federal states, such as North Rhine-Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate, have gone even further in protecting the environment and promoting renewable sources of energy. These states are highly developed industrially, and coal mining flourished there in the past. But now the wind is changing. Coalmines are closing, and renewable energy sources are replacing electricity from coal-fired power stations.

From coal to wind

Grevenbroich, the location of the second most polluting coal-fired power station in the European Union, is an interesting case in point. A wind park is being built precisely here (see photo). “Wind does not pollute the environment in any way. It’s the future of energy, especially in regions with favourable meteorological conditions, such as North Rhine-Westphalia,” Benjamin Böhme, Project Manager of Windtest Grevenbroich, told HN [Hospodárske noviny, a business newspaper]. The company is responsible for operating, maintaining and testing wind turbines.

A model example

The district of Rhine-Hunsrück is another German success story. “We are a model example in Rhineland-Palatinate, maybe also on the national level. Some of our municipalities are now completely self-sufficient in terms of producing energy for their own use. More and more of our citizens are becoming involved in our projects,” said Frank-Michael Uhle, climate protection manager of the district of Rhine-Hunsrück.

He states that the region did not have so much as a kilowatt of renewable energy just 20 years ago. Today, the municipality produces energy from solar power and biomass and leases land to wind turbine operators.

Original article in Slovakian