Although Germany is recognized as one of the world’s most progressive countries in terms of clean energy production, the nation is still heavily dependent on coal mining. In 2013 the nation’s use of coal power reached the highest levels in 20 years – even as renewable sources accounted for 25 percent of total energy capacity. The country’s dependence on coal is rising, and several towns dating back to the Middle Ages are being relocated so that mining companies can reach the rich supply of brown coal located beneath them.
A small town on Atterwasch, located in the Brandenburg area, is slated to be relocated thanks to the large amounts of brown coal that sits beneath it. A similar fate awaits the small 700-year-old village of Proschim, while Magdeborn’s church now sits in the middle of a lake created by an open-pit mine.
In 2013, Germany exported more power than it imported. The record in German electricity exports in recent years can be largely attributed to the increasing amount of power generated by coal and anthracite power stations. Even though the country set a goal to eliminate its dependency on fossil fuel by 2050, carbon emissions are rising despite the rapid development of solar and wind power industries.
Some experts claim that the paradoxical situation can be explained by the low prices of CO2 permits in EU trading scheme. Imposing stricter regulations on carbon polluters on a European level could be the only solution for the current energy schism that threatens Germany’s credibility as a pioneer in the clean energy revolution.
Images by Flickr users Bert Kaufmann, Yoav Lerman, hellagood