German mining region to become green powerhouse with 7 GW of wind, solar
LEAG CEO Thorsten Kramer presents the GigawattFactory Lausitz project on the sidelines of the Eastern Germany Energy Forum. Photo: LEAG
September 30 (Renewables Now) - German energy company Lausitz Energie Bergbau AG (LEAG) is planning to deploy 7 GW of renewable energy capacity in the Lusatia mining areas by 2030, giving a significant boost to the energy transition in the region whose lignite mines once played a prominent role in the German economy.
LEAG, which operates four opencast mines in the region, estimates that the realisation of the ambitious plan will involve investments of more than EUR 10 billion (USD 9.7bn) and will create many jobs in eastern Germany.
The initiative dubbed the GigawattFactory was presented by LEAG's chief executive Thorsten Kramer at the Eastern Germany Energy Forum in Leipzig on Thursday.
The GigawattFactory will combine energy storage solutions, green hydrogen as well as wind and solar power plants to make environmentally friendly energy available in the eastern German region, Kramer said. The photovoltaic (PV) and wind parks will be built on LEAG's post-mining areas in cooperation with partner and project developer EP New Energies GmbH (EPNE).
Additionally, the partners have discovered areas in Lusatia to install a further 7 GW of renewable capacity by 2040.
The 14-GW potential in the region was identified as part of an evaluation process that was launched two years and a half ago. Projects totalling 1 GW have already been brought to the approval process, EPNE said.
Against the background of the acute energy crisis, the developer will seek to realise projects as quickly as possible. Every megawatt hour counts to alleviate the current energy crisis but also to ensure the long-term prospects for Lusatia, according to EPNE's managing director Dominique Guillou.
The GigawattFactory with a capacity of 7 GW and the further potential beyond 2030 are a milestone in the German energy transition and will significantly advance the structural change in the opencast mining areas of Lusatia, Guillou commented.
The ambitious plan is not the first initiative of the two partners for greening the Lusatia region in northeast Germany. LEAG is already working on a plan for a 300-MW solar park on the recultivation area of the Welzow-Sued opencast mine and a project for a 200-MWp solar plant in the Dissen-Striesow municipality. Other projects include a 24-MW wind park to be set up as part of a complex near an artificial lake on the grounds of the former open-pit lignite mine Cottbus-Nord. The complex will include also a 21-MW floating solar plant which is already under construction.
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