The small German island of Heligoland, a popular tourist destination, is undergoing dramatic change as the wind industry takes over.
Watch this New York Times video and say whether the statements below are true or false.
1 When the mega watt project is finished, the power it will generate will reach 300,000 people.
2 The turbines are 200 metres high, without considering the blades.
3 The energiewende is a European energy project.
4 The energiewende project involves a group of renewable energies.
5 It is more difficult to build off-shore water farms in Germany than in the UK.
6 No tourists are admitted at the hotel where the wind farm workers are staying.
7 With the massive use of wind energy, coal consumption in Germany is on the decline.
8 One of the reasons for the delays in building the farms is unexploded bombs.
When I was the first time in the turbine I see nothing else, water. You are alone and for the first time just a little bit you think, what I’ m doing here?
This offshore wind with all its investment is a kind of Germany’s moon landing.
… are spending around a billion euros in constructing these 295 mega watt project, enough to power 300,000 homes, so yeah, it’s a big revolution in Europe right now.
Off the coast in Northern Germany, in the frigid waters of the wind lashed North Sea, a vast array of massive wind turbines is being constructed to feed the booming German economy.
These machines are huge and they are, you know, 100 metres up high and the tip pipe that means up to the blade tip is 150 up to 200 metres. This is big.
Well off shore is actually part of the so-called energiewende, the energy change into renewables, and the German politics decide[d] a couple of years ago to really go full force into off-shore and so since then ten, eleven projects emerged in the German bay, they are all in sorts of different stages and they’re about to be completed now within the next couple of months to actually produce energy to support this energiewende.
The energiewende, or energy transition is arguably the most ambitious national effort to combat global warming on the planet. It involves not just off-shore wind, but also on-shore wind, as well as solar, bio-gas and other renewable sources. While it’s still in its early stages, the German energy transformation has made impressive advances. In the first quarter of 2014 renewable energy sources contributed 27% of the country’s electricity demand, more than double the US number. This figure is expected to grow as the wind farms being installed here go online this year.
It’s really a massive deal. All of the wind farms have been built but the specialty in German is here, is it’s water depths. In Denmark and UK you have off-shore wind farms up to water depth of 10 meters. Here is German North Sea you have the water depths of 25, 26 meters this was really the challenge to build a wind farm that can adapt to that water depth, of course to much harsher environment like the wind and waves.
This massive effort is transforming not just the German energy sector but also many aspects of German life.
Here on the small island of Heligoland, 29 miles off the coast, the off-shore wind industry has virtually taken over this popular vacation spot.
Off-shore wind industry is really our base harbour for maintenance and production of wind farm. We have at the moment here 150 to 200 people on the island to assemble the wind farm, there has been a massive change on the island. We built a big facility here, a storage area. We rented here a hotel and its 49 hotel rooms in total or 80 beds for the next ten years. This island is so small there was no space to build up a new accommodation. We decided just to rent a complete hotel for the next 10 years.
Some have welcomed the changes.
Of all the stores better because we have a lot of work here so more work, more personnel, more jobs.
Others, not so much.
For the workers who have come here all over Germany and Europe, the wind farms offer opportunity.
I start[ed] last year in October in the wind industry and it’s very safe. There you can earn more money. Then I’ll say that is what I want. I have a wife, children, we have a good life, you can go out for dinner, not for one time in a week maybe for two or three times in a week.
But for all its success, the transition to renewables has not gone entirely smoothly for Germany. Coal production has soared and the country’s electricity sector has difficulty turning a profit with the massive influx of renewable energy into the German grid. In the case of off-shore wind, the clean-up of the sea bed from unexploded World War II ordnance has added significantly to the cost. And construction of the on-land grid connection where the wind farms will send their energy was delayed, leaving hundreds of tons of unassembled turbines to idle on the docks in the port of Bremerhave.
Despite the setback, when these wind turbines are finally running, they will together produce enough electricity to power hundreds of thousands of homes.
It’s all awesome, it’s hard, sometimes it’s hard, sometimes it’s easier, a little bit of adventure, rural freedom, everything of what you want this year you can have.
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