RWE plans to expand wind energy generating capacities in NRW

Johannes Lambertz, CEO of RWE Power: "We are planning to use reclamation areas from opencast mining as sites for wind farm projects and, in cooperation with regional farmers, use plant cultivation areas to generate biogas."

Fritz Vahrenholt adds: "We are not wasting any time and are starting with three specific projects in the wind turbines and biogas segments."

Before the end of the year, RWE is planning to start the construction of a wind farm with 20 MW in the municipality of Titz. The ten wind power plants with a height of almost 150 meters are due to generate electricity in summer 2012. Another wind farm will be built in the municipality of Juchen consisting of four 3-megawatt plants.

RWE Innogy is hoping to get the go-ahead for the two farms in autumn this year. The wind farm in Juchen will be built on a reclamation area of the Garzweiler opencast mine. Wherever possible, the company is hoping to utilize this concept for further development plans. The advantage of such fields is that wind speeds are often higher due to their location. This means that with only a few plants maximum yield can be achieved, which also reduces their impact on the landscape. The investment volume for both farms is estimated to total E60 million. RWE is also planning to erect a 7.4 MW biogas plant in Bergheim Paffendorf.

RWE Innogy will build and operate the plant, and RWE Power will be responsible for resource management. Through its opencast mine reclamation activities, the company has developed a high level of competence in the agricultural sector. To supply the plant, a wide range of raw materials including maize and whole crop silage, sugar beet and alfalfa as well as liquid manure will be used.

Some of the raw materials will come from the areas surrounding the open cast mines. The majority of the raw materials, however, will be supplied by regional farmers. The raw biogas produced in the Paffendorf plant will be upgraded to natural gas quality, fed into the natural gas network as biomethane and be supplied to CHP plants in the region.

The total investment amounts to around 13 million euros. RWE Innogy will start the construction of the offshore wind farm Nordsee Ost (295 MW) in the German North Sea and Gwynt y Mor (576 MW) off the coast of Wales before the end of the year, the company added.