Independence and Climate Protection through Wind Power
Prosperity and progress of our society depend to a large extent on a secured and sustainable energy supply. To ensure it in future, Germany is carrying out a social project of the century: the "Energiewende" – the turnaround in energy policy. Onshore wind power generation forms the backbone of this new "industrial revolution".
Challenge Climate Change
Global warming proceeds and thus climatic extreme events increase. With their enormous carbon dioxide emissions, humans are primarily responsible for this development. This has been agreed by scientists of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Their research has shown that the rise in temperature since the 1950s is due to the behavior of mankind. Carbon dioxide (CO2 ) is mainly produced during the exploitation of fossil fuels such as coal and gas.
The world community therefore pursues the goal of reducing the emissions of greenhouse gases such as CO2. Due to its extreme dangers, power generation by nuclear power plants is no alternative to conventional coal and gas power plants. Regarding technical and economic factors, renewable energies, especially wind power, are already the most appropriate alternative form of power generation without climate-damaging effects.
Independence for Communities through Decentralized Wind Power Generation
Until now, Germany has been dependent on imported fuels to cover its immense energy demand. According to the Agentur für Erneuerbare Energien (English: Agency for Renewable Energies) Germany imports
70 percent of the required hard coal,
83 percent natural gas,
97 percent oil and
100 percent uranium.
These resources are becoming increasingly scarcer and more expensive. Besides, they often come from politically troubled countries and unstable regions.
We already own the key to solving these problems: wind energy is clean, inexhaustible and available in abundance in Germany. Its use is not a new invention. In Northern Germany alone, there were 30,000 wind mills around 1900, by means of which people were using the forces of nature for their communities. Today, this decentralized energy generation experiences a real renaissance.
The Federal Environmental Agency shows in a study (June 2013) that more than a tenth of the country's land could be used for wind farms. Wind energy plants have to be erected in an open area with good wind conditions. It depends on communities, regional producers, project developers and on citizens in particular: when they rely on decentralized power generation together with UKA, the economically and ecologically reasonable turnaround in energy policy can be pushed forward.
Primary Energy Consumption in Germany 2012 (13.645 PJ*) *temporarily
Brown coal 12.1% | Nuclear energy 8.0% | Other 1.4% | Renewable 11.6% |
Mineral oil 33.1% | Natural gas 21.6% | Hard coal 12.2%
Source: Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology, based on data by Arbeitsgemeinschaft Energiebilanzen (Working Group on Energy Balances) and Arbeitsgruppe Erneuerbare Energien-Statistik (Working Group on Renewable Energies Statistics)
The Turnaround in Energy Policy Becomes Visible
Wind turbines are sometimes said to have a negative impact on the landscape. In fact, they are visible field markers. Human activities have always shaped and changed the landscape – for example through the building of settlements in the Middle Ages, the Industrial Revolution in the 19th century or the extension of infrastructure in the 1950s. In contrast, wind turbines require very little space and can be easily uninstalled.
An open brown coal pit, for example in the Rhineland, destroys an area of 50 square kilometers to generate 30 billion kilowatt hours of electricity per year. On the same area, 30,000 wind turbines could be erected. These would generate the double amount of electricity (about 75 billion kilowatt hours). At the same time, land on which energy plants are erected can still be used for agriculture. In contrast to combustion or nuclear power plants they do not emit soot particles or pollutants.