Germany struggles to end coal power as populist AfD challenges green consensus

Hambach surface mine, Germany [image credit: Wikipedia]

To be more realistic, delete ‘struggles’ and insert ‘fails totally’. The bottom line is that part-time unpredictable electricity supplies are of strictly limited use to modern industrial economies dependent on continuous and adequate – preferably affordable – power for their survival and prosperity. Granted, lignite is not a great choice of fuel but something has to be used to keep the show on the road 24/7.

Coal showdown reflects government’s floundering shift to renewable power, says The Global Warming Policy Forum (GWPF).

Not far from Germany’s Rhine River, a fight to thwart giant excavators from grinding away what’s left of the 1,200-year-old Hambach forest came to a head this month as thousands of protesters faced off with police in a tense, and at times violent, showdown.

Activists formed a human shield by occupying dozens of self-made tree houses, set up barricades in the woods and threw stones and even Molotov cocktails toward police. The standoff revolves around utility RWE AG’s plans to extend a giant open-pit mine to dig up lignite — a soggy form of coal — for burning in local power plants in a short-term fix for Germany’s energy needs.

The conflict represents another challenge for Germany’s political establishment as it pits the country’s economic interests against goals of becoming an environmental leader in a 500 billion-euro ($590 billion) shift to renewable power.

Those competing agendas are now colliding in and around Hambach — a district known as Rhein-Erft-Kreis — where concerns range from lost jobs and soaring electricity prices to the incessant hum of wind turbines and “electrosmog” from new power lines.

“I’ve got it all here, violent militants to law-abiding constituents rightly concerned about their power bills,” said Georg Kippels, a German lawmaker from Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats who represents the area just west of Cologne. “The next phase of the energy shift is an upheaval happening right here.”

Continued here.

via Tallbloke’s Talkshop

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September 27, 2018 at 08:57AM

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