Solar energy in Germany
The European nation’s power transformation makes it a leader in changing nukes and fossil fuels with wind and solar technology.
By Robert Kunzig
Pictures by Luca Locatelli
Hamburg understood the bombs had been coming, and so the prisoners of war and forced laborers had simply half annually to build the huge flak bunker. By July 1943 it absolutely was finished. A windowless cube of reinforced tangible, with seven-foot-thick walls and an even thicker roof, it towered like a medieval palace above a park close to the Elbe River. The firearms protruding from its four turrets would sweep Allied bombers from the sky, the Nazis guaranteed, while tens of thousands of citizens sheltered safely behind its impenetrable wall space.
Coming in at night from the North-Sea simply days following the bunker had been done, British bombers steered for the spire of St. Nikolai in the middle of the city. They dropped clouds of metallic foil strips to throw-off German radar and flak gunners. Targeting crowded residential areas, the bombers ignited an unquenchable firestorm that destroyed 50 % of Hamburg and killed a lot more than 34, 000 folks. Imposing walls of fire produced winds therefore powerful that folks were blown in to the flames. Church bells clanged furiously.
The spire of St. Nikolai, which for some reason survived, stands today as a mahnmal—a memorial reminding Germany of this hell brought by the Nazis. The flak bunker is yet another mahnmal. The good news is it has a unique meaning: An urban development agency (IBA Hamburg) while the municipal utility (Hamburg Energie) have transformed it from a powerful note of Germany’s shameful past into a hopeful eyesight money for hard times.
inside central room regarding the bunker, in which men and women once cowered through firestorm, a six-story, 528, 000-gallon warm water tank delivers heat and hot water to some 800 domiciles in area. The water is warmed by burning gasoline from sewage treatment, by waste-heat from a nearby factory, and also by solar panel systems that today cover the roof of bunker, sustained by struts angling through the old weapon turrets. The bunker in addition converts sunshine into electrical energy; a scaffolding of photovoltaic (PV) panels on its south facade nourishes adequate liquid into the grid to produce one thousand houses. In the north parapet, that the flak gunners when watched flames increasing through the town center, a backyard café provides a view for the changed skyline. It’s dotted with 17 wind turbines today.
Wind generators surround a coal-fired power plant near Garzweiler in western Germany. Renewables today produce 27 percent for the country’s electricity, up from 9 per cent a decade ago. In the course of time they’ll group out coal—although Germany is switching down its nuclear flowers first.