Dinosaur Blocks Parking But Can It Block Coal Power?
Greenpeace activists marched in front of the offices of Vatenfall in Hamburg, installing a dinosaur on top of a pile of coal to emphasize the point declared on their banners: "Stop dinosaur technology". Vatenfall, a Sweden-based energy company, plans a 1600 megawatt coal-fired power plant in Hamburg, investing two billion euros ($3 billion). The contested coal plant, planned in Moorburg, is one of three brown coal burning facilities Vatenfall has planned for Germany.Greenpeace advocates construction of a natural gas-fired power plant of 800 megawatt capacity, measures to dramatically improve all coal plant efficiency by heat recovery, and more investment in renewable energy such as offshore windfarms as an alternative to brown coal. Protesters hope that defying the Moorburg plans will send a signal that coal plants in Boxberg and in Berlin are also not welcome. The three plants, if realized, will add 18.2 million tons of carbon dioxide per year to the total releases of Vatenfall, currently the second largest CO2 emitter in Europe.
Vatenfall has countered with promises to install CO2 capture technologies on the Moorburg plant by 2013. Critics call this ploy extremely optimistic, projecting that such technology will not be market ready before 2020, and noting that the fines in case of failing to meet this deadline may not be an effective deterrent. Furthermore, critics challenge the installation of retrofitted carbon capture systems by a company making great claims for its "oxyfuel" process, which needs to be built from the ground up and cannot be added later. TreeHugger earlier reported the failure of the Saskatchewan oxyfuel construction after costs spiralled out of control.
The dinosaur of rusted steel towered 5 meters (16 feet) over a 3 ton pile of coal which Greenpeace protesters dumped, under cover of darkness, in front of the entry to Vatenfall employee parking. The dinosaur, bedded in concreted and well bolted, blocked entry to Vatenfall employee parking quite successfully. It remains to be seen if the dinosaur can block plans for construction of more brown coal plants, which German chancellor Merkel advocates for energy independence, in parallel with commitments to renewable energies.