Does the Hambach open-cast mine fail to protect nature?
The main operating plan 2018 to 2020 for the continuation of lignite mining in the Hambach opencast mine (Fig. 1) has been approved by the Arnsberg district government responsible for this. This main operating plan forms the basis for the continued operation of the opencast lignite mine from 1 April 2018 to 31 December 2020. Nature conservation can oppose it. The German Association for the Environment and Nature Conservation (Bund für Umwelt und Naturschutz Deutschland e. V.) (BUND), Berlin, has already appealed to the Münster Higher Administrative Court (OVG). The framework operating plan as well as the one preceding the current main operating plan were approved by the Administrative Court (VG) of Cologne in a ruling dated 24 November 2017 (14 K 1282/15), the reasons for which have only just been published. Is the continuation of the Hambach opencast mine thus assured?
Green electricity instead of mining? Mines as energy locations
The energy turnaround has significantly limited the use of conventional energy sources and thus also hard coal for electricity generation. The fixed purchase of the electricity generated in this way was eliminated by the priority given to renewable energies. Coal is more important as a reserve energy source. Due to the simultaneous phasing out of nuclear power, the importance of this energy source has remained the same to date. However, it is foreseeable that the share of renewable energies will continue to increase and that the share of coal in electricity generation will probably also decrease.
However, hard coal can also benefit from renewable energies. This applies to the numerous areas left behind by the coal industry. This raises the question of re-use. This will be the case from 2019 in a comprehensive and formally defined manner. With the end of active coal mining, the post-monthly phase will officially be ushered in. Then there will only be use outside the coal industry.