Most of the power emanating from the Ruhr these days is generated by wind farms dotted across the landscape. There is one just by the campsite, vast turbines the size of the Eiffel Tower rising out of the fields and casting a shadow over caravan and camper van alike. As an advert for the site, the windmills don't do much.
Oddly, none of them was turning when I arrived. Like the site owner, they were clearly rising above the flap and bustle going on all around them.
After killing nuclear energy and coal-fired power plants, Germany is now taking aim at its own green policies, says the Wall Street Journal.
After building nearly 20,000 windmills, Germans are now regulating them well beyond economical sense:
... while German power companies export 61 per cent of the wind generators they produce, the number of new wind turbines installed in Germany fell by more than 25 per cent in the first half of the year compared to the same period in 2006.
"This is evidence that the fundamental conditions for wind power utilisation are no longer favourable in Germany," said Germany's Wind Energy Federation president Hermann Albers. ...These days news that a wind park is planned normally results in a local residents' campaign to raise concerns that the wind generators risk spoiling the countryside, driving away tourists and leading to sleepless nights for those living close to the turbines because of the infrasound - sound with a frequency too low to be detected by the human ear - caused by the whirling blades.
Each year German courts hear 600-700 cases mounted by opponents of plans to build wind turbines in their local communities.
They call him the Don Quixote of the Uckermark.
But unlike the Spanish literary figure, Hans-Joachim Mengel, a professor of political science at Berlin's Free University, isn't attacking imaginary "giants" in the Iberian hinterland. Rather, he is taking aim at the 400-foot windmills that blanket the German countryside.
Mr. Mengel is not alone. Hundreds of citizens' groups have sprung up in Germany to battle "Verspargelung der Landschaft" - a new phrase in the German lexicon - meaning "the transformation of the German landscape into an asparagus field."
The German feed-in system, called the Erneuerbare Energieen Gesetz (Renewable Energy Law or EEG) guarantees producers of sustainable power a fixed price per kWh fed into the grid. Since the introduction of the EEG in April 2000, the amount of renewable energy in Germany has more than tripled. Last year saw the production of 20,000 GWh of wind power and 18,000 GWh from other renewable sources. The share of renewables in the electricity mix has increased from 3.01% in 2000 to 10.53% in 2006. The target for 2012 is 20%.
At the same time, the increasing share of renewables confronts the power sector with growing pains. They are facing an increasing input from highly variable sources. For instance, in 2004 the grid feed-in from renewable sources has varied between 1.8 and 14 GW.