Lignite power plant blocked: Climate activists paralyze electricity production

In Brandenburg, climate activists from the "Involuntary Fire Brigade" are blocking a lignite-fired power plant.

Lignite power plant blocked: Climate activists paralyze electricity production

In Brandenburg, climate activists from the "Involuntary Fire Brigade" are blocking a lignite-fired power plant. They chain themselves to coal conveyor belts and railroad tracks. The operator speaks of an "attack on the security of supply".

After the blockade of the third largest lignite-fired power plant in Germany by climate activists, the police in Jänschwalde in Brandenburg have started the evacuation. The officers were deployed with a larger contingent and took several activists into custody. The operator Leag temporarily shut down two power plant blocks. Around noon, three out of four blocks were back on the grid and, according to the information, were producing electricity. There were no power outages. Brandenburg's Interior Minister Michael Stübgen from the CDU condemned the blockade as an act of sabotage.

The environmentalists had penetrated the site of the power plant in the morning. The "Involuntary Fire Brigade" group announced in the morning that around 40 people were on the site and were blocking, among other things, the coal bunker and the track connections to the power plant. "We are taking the exit from coal into our own hands here and now," said local activists. The plant is about 15 kilometers north of Cottbus.

The spokesman for the energy company Leag, Thoralf Schirmer, confirmed that activists were at the so-called trench bunker, where coal is stored. He spoke of an "attack on security of supply". According to him, two blocks had to be completely taken off the grid because of the occupation of coal conveyors. According to Leag, half of the power plant was not in operation - that meant a reduction of one gigawatt.

According to a police spokesman, the operation was time-consuming because it was difficult to detach the chained climate activists from the tracks and conveyor systems. The police initially did not provide any information on the exact number of people on the premises. "It is clear that this is a criminal offence," said the police spokesman. Investigated for disruption of public services and trespassing.

In a few days, two more power plant blocks in Jänschwalde, which are on standby, are to be reactivated for the energy supply. A corresponding decision by the State Office for the Environment (LfU) is still pending after examining objections to an exemption for restarting blocks E and F.

Climate activists also continued their protest in Berlin on Monday. According to the police, around 50 men and women initially blocked the Unter den Linden intersection at the corner of Friedrichstraße near the Brandenburg Gate. A little later, according to the police, around 100 people gathered at Potsdamer Platz and set up a pink tower that resembled a drilling rig. The Extinction Rebellion initiative said the actions were intended to denounce the federal government's inadequate climate policy and its addiction to oil, gas and coal.

(This article was first published on Monday, September 19, 2022.)

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