Though Germany has been seen as a leader in green energy solutions in recent years, officials are planning on making a return to coal, at the expense of the towns sitting over deposits.
In the eastern German region of Lausitz, nine villages would give way to five new mines fueling the country's renewed hunger for lignite coal. Swedish energy company Vattentfall seeks to relocate the village of Atterwasch, currently located near the Polish border.
Germany has been a global trend setter for reducing carbon dioxide emissions, with about 25 percent of electricity coming from renewable sources and around 45 percent from coal. The use of lignite coal hit its highest level since 1990 last year, according to Mining.com. Brown coal accounted for electricity with 162 billion kilowatt hours, out of a total of 629 billion kilowatt hours. Mining officials said the mines are needed to power a new generation of coal power plants.
Two lignite plants opened in 2012, with two more on the way. In addition, two hard coal plants opened their doors last year, as the blueprints for another five are being established awaiting licenses.
There has been much debate over digging for lignite. Notably, the plans have been in the works since 2007. Right now the cost of carbon is quite low in Europe. Until the price rises, lignite is expected to remain at the heart of German energy production.
To keep environmental concerns in mind during the country's return to lignite coal production, it's essential to prevent accidents with equipment maintenance software and equipment reliability solutions. These mechanisms drop the risk of problems that could harm the surrounding ecosystems, while keeping energy levels and production at a peak.