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ENERGY

Germany starts building 700 km wind energy power line

Construction work has started on the long-delayed 700-kilometre power line that will transfer wind-generated electricity from northern to southern Germany, the economy ministry said Monday, pushed by an energy crisis.

Habeck wind
Economy Minister Habeck (Greens) at a kick-off event for the construction of the first converter for the Suedlink power line in July in Leingarten, Baden-W├╝rttemberg. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Marijan Murat

The underground line, SuedLink, is vital for the energy transition as northern Germany has more wind farms than the south, where officials have faced criticism for dragging their feet on building turbines.

In fact, the power line had been due to begin operation in 2022, but works had been held up because of strong opposition from the south, particularly in Bavaria.

An energy crisis sparked by Russia’s war on Ukraine had finally forced southern states to relent.

READ ALSO: Why is Germany running behind schedule on its wind energy rollout?

Construction of the 10-billion-euro project will finally begin with work on a tunnel under the River Elbe, in the northernmost state of
Schleswig-Holstein, the ministry said in a statement.

The line will transfer power to the affluent, energy-hungry southern states of Bavaria and Baden-Wuerttemberg.

Scheduled for completion in 2028, the line will have a total transmission capacity of four gigawatts — enough power for about 10 million households.

“With the SuedLink, southern Germany will in future be able to benefit from the large quantity of wind power generated in the north,” said Economy Minister Robert Habeck.

“This will strengthen (energy security) in Germany, and also neighbouring countries.”

Habeck, of the ecologist Green party, added the start of construction was “good news” for the energy transition.

In addition, a major power cable running between northern Germany and Denmark to the north was nearing completion, and is scheduled to be finished next year, the ministry said.

This line will improve the transfer of electricity from regions of Denmark that produce wind power, and strengthen the European grid, it said.

As part of efforts to fight climate change, Europe’s biggest economy is aiming to become carbon neutral by 2045, and has pledged to produce 80 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030.

Germany is in dire need of extra sources of power — it recently shut down its last nuclear plant and plans to close its final coal-fired power stations in the coming years.

But a study by the German Wind Energy Association released in July showed that, while the country had made progress in expanding onshore wind power capacity, more work is needed to meet key targets.

There has been political resistance to turbines from local communities concerned they could be a blight on the landscape, particularly in southern Germany, meaning far more permits have been issued in the north.

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CLIMATE CRISIS

European countries smash September temperature records

Austria, France, Germany, Poland and Switzerland announced their hottest Septembers on record on Friday, in a year expected to be the warmest in human history as climate change accelerates.

European countries smash September temperature records

The unseasonably warm weather in Europe came after the EU climate monitor said earlier this month that global temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere summer were the hottest on record.

French weather authority Meteo-France said the September temperature average in the country will be around 21.5 degrees Celsius (70.7 degrees Fahrenheit), between 3.5C and 3.6C above the 1991-2020 reference period.

Average temperatures in France have been exceeding monthly norms consistently for almost two years.

In neighbouring Germany, weather office DWD said this month was the hottest September since national records started, almost 4C higher than the 1961-1990 baseline.

Poland’s weather institute announced September temperatures were 3.6C higher than average and the hottest for the month since records began more than 100 years ago.

National weather bodies in the Alpine nations of Austria and Switzerland also recorded their hottest-ever average September temperatures, a day after a study revealed Swiss glaciers lost 10 percent of their volume in two years amid extreme warming.

The Spanish and Portuguese national weather institutes warned abnormally warm temperatures were going to hit this weekend, with the mercury topping 35C in parts of southern Spain on Friday.

READ ALSO: MAP: The parts of Spain that are most and least affected by global warming

Records ‘systematically’ broken┬á

Scientists say climate change driven by human activity is driving global temperatures higher, with the world at around 1.2C of warming above pre-industrial levels.

The European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service told AFP earlier this month that 2023 is likely to be the hottest year humanity has experienced.

Higher temperatures are likely to be on the horizon as the El Nino weather phenomenon — which warms waters in the southern Pacific and beyond — has only just begun.

The disruption to the planet’s climate systems is making extreme weather events like heatwaves, drought, wildfires and storms more frequent and intense, causing greater losses of life and property.

World leaders will gather in Dubai from November 30 for crunch UN talks aimed at curbing the worst effects of climate change, including limiting warming to 1.5C, a goal of the landmark 2015 Paris Agreement.

Slashing planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions — notably by phasing out the consumption of polluting gas, oil and coal — climate finance and boosting renewable energy capacity will be at the heart of the discussions.

“Until we reach carbon neutrality, heat records are going to be systematically broken week after week, month after month, year after year,” UN climate report lead author Francois Gemenne told AFP this week.

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