News
01 Mar 2021, 14:33
Charlotte Nijhuis

Protest at Hamburg coal-fired heating plant against possible use of Namibian wood

Clean Energy Wire

Climate activists have protested at a coal-fired heating plant in Hamburg that could be converted to use imported wood as a fuel due to the coal-phase out plans of Germany's second largest city. Hamburg's environmental authority is currently examining the possibility of burning wood imported from Namibia in the Tiefstack power plant, according to the Robin Wood activist group. This would be a “blatantly wrong decision” that would go against the goal of a “climate-friendly, socially just energy supply,” the group writes in a press release. “If we burn Namibia's ecosystems for warm living rooms here in Hamburg, this is harmful to the climate, endangers biodiversity and is unfair,” Ute Bertrand of Robin Wood said. The activists call upon the Hamburg senate to plainly reject the conversion of the Tiefstack power plant to wood burning. “This would have a signal effect for similar projects in other cities,” the group writes.

Hamburg wants to phase out coal by 2030 the latest, as per an agreement between the city and civil society as part of the "Tschüss Kohle" (“Bye coal”) initiative from May 2019. Earlier this year, the city and representatives from the "Tschüss Kohle" campaign organised a meeting that brought together ten experts from the fields of energy, the environment, business and science, and representatives of the city-owned operator Wärme Hamburg and Hamburg’s ministry of environment to discuss the future of heating in the city. From 2030, the Tiefstack plant will either have to be shut down or converted to a climate-friendly heating plant, a group of experts from the fields of energy, the environment, business and science, and representatives of the city-owned operator Wärme Hamburg and Hamburg’s ministry of environment found at a meeting earlier this year. Further meetings are intended to foster dialogue with citizens about the future of what is expected to be the city's last remaining coal plant after 2025.

Heating is a major contributor to Germany's energy consumption. Almost a third of the country's total final energy consumption in 2018 went into space and water heating in buildings, and more than 90 percent of the country's heating systems are currently fuelled with oil and natural gas, according to the Federation of the German Heating Industry (BDH).

 

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