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Thousands demonstrate against coal plant in Mainz

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Thousands demonstrate against coal plant in Mainz
Photo: DPA
08:58 CEST+02:00
Around 4,000 people took to the streets in the city of Mainz on Saturday to protest against a planned coal-fired power plant on the banks of the Rhine river.

A citizens' initiative called “Coal-free Mainz,” which includes local farmers, environment activists, residents, students and politicians, held up posters and marched through the city to vent their opposition to the planned power plant.

“What's happening here is hugely undemocratic,” Clara Wörsdörfer, a spokesman for the group said.

Construction has already begun on the controversial coal plant at Ingelheimer Aue being built by the Kraftwerke Mainz-Wiesbaden AG (KMW) company. The plant is slated to start producing 820 megawatts of electricity by 2013.

A statement by KMW says the plant's purpose is “to secure jobs and energy supplies in the region.”

Experts have criticized the plant as unnecessarily expensive while environment groups have slammed the KMW company's emphasis on what they say are outdated, polluting technologies. The plant has attracted large demonstrations two weeks before local city council elections are held in North Rhine-Westphalia.

The head of the environment group, Deutsche Umwelthilfe, Rainer Baake, said Germany's production of electricity significantly outstripped domestic demand.

“Nobody needs to fear that the lights will go out if a coal plant is not built in Mainz,” Baake said. He said a much better alternative was to increasingly switch to using renewable sources of energy.

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