10 Aug 2020, 13:25
David Reay

Climate activists occupy two German coal power plants, demand closure of "climate killers"


Climate activists demanding an end to coal power occupied two German coal-fired powered stations over the weekend, news website n-tv reports. Around 20 members of Direkte Aktion Berlin, which campaigns for an end to “fossil capitalism”, occupied the Moabit power station in Berlin, and five entered a similar plant in Mannheim on Saturday. The protestors scaled machinery including a crane in Moabit and coal extraction plant in Mannheim. Both protests ended peacefully later that day. The Moabit plant is currently closed for repairs while the coal extraction plant at the Mannheim site was shut down during the occupation. Berlin police are considering a trespassing charge against the Moabit activists.

The Berlin plant is owned by Swedish energy firm Vattenfall, and the Mannheim site is jointly owned by German utilities companies RWE, EnBW and MVV. It is home to 1.2-billion-euro, 2150 megawatt capacity plant, which was opened in 2015 and has been labelled a “climate killer” by Direkte Aktion Berlin.

Germany has an uneasy relationship with coal power. In previous decades it was the backbone of the country’s economic development but will now be phased out by 2038 as part of the country’s energy transition. However, with renewable targets looking increasingly ambitious, it remains a key component of the energy mix. Energy firms continue to invest in new, more efficient coal plants, arguing that they offer a cleaner, and necessary, stopgap measure. Environmentalists, who want an immediate exit from coal, say it makes no sense to bring new coal plants online when Germany is already struggling to meet its climate targets. As a result, protests at coal plants have become commonplace.

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