Greenpeace Energy criticises Vattenfall and Baywa's plans for wind and solar power in German lignite mining areas

Jaenschwalde lignite-fired power plant formerly operated by Vattenfall (today by LEAG) in the Niederlausitz mining area

In the run-up to the results announced at the weekend on Germany’s withdrawal from coal-fired power production by 2038, the energy group Vattenfall and the conglomerate BayWa – via its subsidiary BayWa r.e. Renewable Energy GmbH also active in the renewable energy business – have published plans for the construction of wind and solar power plants in the German lignite regions. In a declaration formulated jointly with the consulting service provider Solarpraxis and the project developer and asset investment provider Wattner, the companies stated that financing, construction and operation of large plants from 250 MW in the lignite mining areas would be possible from 2020 without public subsidies.
The renewable energy supplier Greenpeace Energy criticized the proposal. It was a good thing that Vattenfall »after years of commitment to lignite« now wanted to ensure the expansion of renewable energies. (Until a few years ago Vattenfall itself was active in mining and the operation of lignite power plants in the eastern German region of Lusatia.) The proposals were also very similar to a concept presented by Greenpeace Energy itself last November for the lignite mining area on the Lower Rhine. According to a Greenpeace Energy statement, the approach was nevertheless »fundamentally wrong and no progress for Lusatia. If only one or two companies organise the subsequent use of the former mining area by solar and wind energy plants, then in the end it is only they who will make the profits«. The Vattenfall concept means that »after the end of lignite mining, the people of Lusatia will remain dependent on a large corporation – and on someone who has not been particularly responsible in the past, as the dispute over the lack of reserves for the renaturation of opencast mines shows«.
© PHOTON

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