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Large utility RWE Energie has informed journalists that 300 MW of wind power generated with 500 kW turbines requires 23 million square metres of land -- the equivalent of 3134 football pitches. Furthermore, it claims that 1200 MW of wind power from 500 kW plant need 92 square kilometres, or 12,517 football pitches. To make a comparison with a fossil fuel or nuclear power station producing round the clock (base load), RWE Energie says the figures must be multiplied by 3.5. However, the utility omits to point out that the land around the turbines can be used for agriculture and be returned to its original state once the turbines have gone. Perhaps just as interesting is the calculation of how much land has been engulfed and subsequently recultivated through the open cast mining of lignite for RWE Energie power stations. The utility's sister company, lignite miner Rheinbraun, reports that a total of 15,675 hectares of land has been recultivated after the original landscape, including thousands of homes, was completely destroyed by opencast lignite mining. This area is the equivalent of 21,326 football fields and was used to provide lignite (which consists of 55% water) for RWE Energie's 9500 MW of lignite fired capacity. Thus, 1200 MW of lignite fired capacity has required 2694 football pitches, or 21.5% of the area which RWE Energie says is needed for 1200 MW of wind.

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