Tilting at Windmills

OSTERATH’S 12,000 citizens are angry. Their quiet backwater in the Ruhr, close to Düsseldorf, is the proposed site for the biggest converter station in Europe. This vast installation will transform high-voltage direct current to alternating current. It will be an important link in Germany’s new “power highway”, a network of transmission lines that will send electricity generated by wind farms in the north of the country, and offshore in the North and Baltic Seas, to the manufacturing belt in the south. Osterath’s residents reckon it will be a monstrous eyesore, and intend to stop it. A bill to determine the outlines of the new power highway is making its way through the federal parliament. Of 3,300 objections from the public, 2,300 are from Osterath.

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