Make Use of Ecological Advantages

In order to protect the global climate, the use of fossil fuels must be drastically reduced. Today already 10,000 wind turbines supply as much electric power to Germany as the lignite power station in Lippendorf. Through additional deployment of wind energy and modern end-use technology, the power station could be shut down immediately. The German greenhouse gas balance would thereby be reduced by 11.7 million tons carbon dioxide per year.

In the same area of the Leipzig southern region intended for excavation by the Mibrag mining company, a large wind park could be established. Compatible activities of environmentally benign power generation, business, research, agriculture and nature could be conducted there. Owing to the feed-in law for electricity from wind power, it would once again be profitable to invest in the regional economy.

Lignite generation of electricity, on the other hand, constitutes long-term stagnation with concepts from the 90's. The detachment from technological progress increases steadily and weakens the export prospects of local industry.

The USA is presently experiencing an enormous electricity crisis. But Saxonian companies hardly have any innovative energy engineering to offer there. This unproductive condition now threatens to become a guideline for state licensing practices with the detrimental remarks on wind power by Governor Biedenkopf.

However, should our industry really refrain from the lucrative business of wind-powered devices? Would it be not much more intelligent to manufacture and sell these highly desired "cash printing machines" throughout the world? In Brandenburg 450 new jobs are already being created for the production of rotor blades.

A wind turbine cannot fulfill the desire for idealized postcard landscapes. However, nuclear reactors and coal-fired power stations are painted grey in order to appear as inconspicuous as possible. This pretended inoffensiveness will be revenged on coming generations, which are threatened at no fault of their own by radioactive waste and climate change.

Each wind-powered device therefore represents a pledge to ecological justice. The occasionally annoying rotor movement nevertheless is a reminder that electricity cannot be generated without expense. Yet with increasing urban sprawl, a wind park serves more the protection than the expulsion of natural organisms.

Jeffrey H. Michel
(This commentary appeared in the Leipziger Volkszeitung on July 31, 2001)