Site of a planned coal power plant in Mainz squatted

Fertig ist das selbstgebaute Riesen-Windrad!

Last monday, some 20 activists squatted the construction site of the planned coal-fired power plant in Mainz in the southwest of Germany. The activists erected a five meter high wind turbine and unfolded large banners. With this move, they want to point out the devastating consequences of the climate-damaging fossil power supply, as one of the banners made clear: „Kohle für Euch, Dreck für uns, Fluten für den Rest“, which means "Coal (another word for money in German) for you, smog for us and floods for the rest".


The activists call for the immediate energy transition towards the usage of renewable energies, rather than locking in the further exploitation of fossil energy sources by building another coal power plant. "Wind and solar energy are both unlimited and free."


At around 9 am, the activists entered the site owned by the municipally-driven Kraftwerke Mainz-Wiesbaden AG (KMW) and symbolically launched the conversion workings to an ecological energy site.

Under the slogan "We just start constructing - as noone else does," they pointed out that de facto there has not yet been any relevant construction work at the site. In fact, when they arrived, not one worker was doing anything - obviously only as a reaction to the squat, the KMW made sure an earthmover is moving some stones back and forth. "To pretend the construction works had already started, the people in charge move around some machines just like toys," one of the activists explains, "The KMW is adept in all tricks of the trade to make the public believe the dice had fallen. With this move they try to break the resistance first, before they can create irreversible facts."


"Unbelievable, how we're being deceived," said a citizen of the neighboring Mombach, who had come over to the site right after reading the first press release about the squat. "Nice to have at least a few young people not giving in. Actually, we all should resist." On the grounds he himself dared not, however, unfortunately, but whether it will still be a few people", for hundreds of brave, I would be there! "

While the KMW was able to acquire a preliminary and partial building permit, the project still has a long way to go both politically and legally. With Entega, one of the proposed main customers backed out of the 850 megawatt power plant. Both the financing of the 1.2 billion-euro project, as well as its commercial operation completely remain completely incalculable.


The political situation, however, is pretty clear: More than 60,000 objections, extraordinarily large demonstrations such the one a week earlier (see a report), majorities in the counsels of both Mainz and the neighboring city of Wiesbaden against the project, and last but not least the clear results of the municipal elections on June 7, showcase the political will of the public in the whole region.

"The way those responsible brush aside the public opinion displays a profound disregard for democratic principles - actually the public utility companies were founded to serve the people of their region," the activists state and at the same time emphasize: "One shouldn't trust in party politics. We want to make and shape the changes directly through our own involvement and our own actions."


Crucial to this are especially some more fundamental changes: The activists are calling for distinct changes in lifestyle and production methods which currently both depend on a high energy and resource consumption. Die kapitalistische Wirtschaftsordnung gehe rücksichtslos mit Mensch und Umwelt um und stehe damit ursächlich hinter dem immer stärker werdenden Klimawandel. The capitalist economic system was ruthless with both people and the environment, and is thus the ultimate cause behind the growing climate change.


The squatters made their points with both imagination and some sense of humor. Some figures of a skittles game represented whatever is in the way of a sustainable energy policy: apart from the chimney of the not yet existing power plant and the city mayors Beutel (of Mainz) and Müller (of Wiesbaden) there was also a sign with the word "capitalism". In addition, songs were sung and the game "Coal kills climate" played.

After the successful action, the activists left the squatted site a good two hours later. The PR spokesperson of the KMW company announced not to report to the police for trespass. Nevertheless, the police insisted on an identitification check of the activists - "just to be on the safe side. KMW may at any time change their mind and still file a report," they said. After all, the KMW officials escalated the situation from the very beginning - in first excited reactions the police was called in order to vacate the site. Later they were despreately looking for a way to get out of the situation without ugly press photos. This shows the general uncertainty of the leaders of the KMW on how to deal with the massive public criticism.

The occupation of the plant site was also meant to introduce a new form of direct action into the controversial debates about the coal power plant in the region. While in spite of the broad movement, the protest sticked to conventional circumstances so far, from now on there is certainly more direct action to be expected.


Video clips about the squat action (in German):

Further articles about the squat action (in German):

Additional links on the topic: