Folly: Germany Plans To Convert Coal Power Plant To Burn 100-Year Old Trees In Minutes!

German Coal Power Plants To Be Converted: To Burn Trees

Millions of trees to be shipped from around the world to Europe to be burned as “green coal”. Image cropped from “Planet of the Humans”

(Translated/edited by P. Gosselin)

On May 2, 2020, we reported on the movie Burned. In the USA, the focus is on biomass.

However, they do not ferment fast-growing plants into gas as is the case in Europe, rather they cut down trees and burn them in power plants – often together with other things like car tires or soaked railway ties.

The issue is controversial because it is about pure ideology. Climate organisations such as, which in the USA is like Fridays For Future (FFF) in Europe, have given their blessing to this type of power generation.

The film Planet of the Humans by Michael Moore also denounces this.

Converting CO2 sinks instantly into atmospheric CO2

And so the USA is losing valuable carbon sinks and biotopes, destroying its environment and lying to itself about sustainability and the climate. A tree that takes 50 – 100 years to become big and stately, but then is burned up in a few minutes, can never have a favorable climate balance, no matter how you calculate it. Trees are the new coal, it seems.

But anyone who thinks that this is only done in the USA, where huge forests and thus carbon sinks are destroyed, is mistaken.

“Madness”: German coal plant to be converted to burn trees

The online daily Weserkurier reports on a coal-fired power station in Wilhelmshaven (North Germany) that is to be converted to burn wood. This made Germany’s most famous forester, Peter Wohlleben (book “The Secret Life of Trees“) flash with anger on Twitter.


Wohlleben’s tweet in English:

The madness continues: although hundreds of scientists are warning against burning wood as a climate killer, politics and industry in Germany are backing forest destruction and want to convert coal-fired power plants.”

What Wohlleben means by madness could be the statements of Social Democrat Party member of parliament Siemtje Möller. Her slogan on her own website: “Think about the climate too!”

“Green coal”

Siemtje Möller is already thinking ahead. After all, the Wilhelmshaven site could eventually also produce hydrogen with the green coal. The stimulus for the technology, worth billions of euros, which has just been ratified, should also come to Wilhelmshaven.

“I’d like a fair share here,” says the Siemtje Möller about the budget. In general, she sees the hydrogen initiative, the coal phase-out law and the structural transformation law as “a huge opportunity for the Northwest to enter the future”.

She calls trees “green coal” in all seriousness and then wants to use the energy from burnt trees to produce hydrogen. Does the federal hydrogen initiative mean something like that? Probably not. Destroying carbon sinks cannot possibly be a huge opportunity for the future.

Why does Ms. Möller take her own slogan so little seriously?

7 responses to “Folly: Germany Plans To Convert Coal Power Plant To Burn 100-Year Old Trees In Minutes!”

  1. John F. Hultquist

    “Boggles” describes my reaction to the sorts of people that promote burning trees rather than coal. And renounce nuclear.

    Wood in houses and other buildings locks CO2 away for a long time. The chips from processing can be used to make engineered wood, such as oriented strand board (OSB).
    Real woods, very thin, covering engineered wood make amazing construction pieces that may be very beautiful.
    Old trees are wildlife habitat of great consequence. To unnecessarily destroy such a thing ought to be a crime.

    “Europe”, please stop burning our trees.

  2. mwhite

    They will rquire subsidies

    £1 billion a year in the UK.

  3. Peter

    The Netherlands government has subsidy contracts to pay 11 bln EUR in subsidies to power plants to burn wood (instead of coal).

    However, the political discuss is heating up now whether the country should burn imported trees (from the US, Canada and Baltic states) to reach its target. More and more political parties are starting to see the light and are now fully opposed to it.
    Even Urgenda (the Dutch organization that sued the Dutch government for not doing enough to ‘save’ the climate) and the far left party “Groen Links” are against it.

    IMHO… it takes 30 years for a tree to grow and 30 minutes to burn. How can this be sustainable?

  4. drumphish

    The Cedars of Lebanon all over again.

    Why would you harvest then burn wood before mining coal?

    Coal has more energy. Coal will burn for more than 24 hours in a wood burning stove, wood will last maybe ten hours

    A no brainer, been there, done that.

    Coal outdistances wood by a country mile.

    Get a clue!

  5. Curious George

    Will the wood be ecologically transported in wooden sailboats?

  6. richard verney

    It makes no difference to CO2 emissions if you release CO2 which was sequestered by trees some 50 to a 100 years ago, when you burn biomass, or if you release CO2 that was sequered from trees some 300 million years ago, when you burn coal. The issue is simply how much CO2 is being released at the time of burning the fuel in in 2020?

    Of course when you burn wood, since it has a lower calorific value than coal, you need far more wood to prouce each unit of electricity, such that burning wood from trees, releases far more CO2 than does burning coal. It is only Enron style accounting, that gives biomass a green pass. It is far worse for the environment in every sense.

  7. Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #412 | Watts Up With That?

    […] Folly: Germany Plans To Convert Coal Power Plant To Burn 100-Year Old Trees In Minutes! […]

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