Why do power stations always look like power stations? That's the tacit question behind AZPA's proposal for a new gas power station in Wedel, Germany, which it envisages as a "green mountain" of topiary. The idea is not so much to disguise the plant as it is to turn it into a local attraction.
A coal-fired power station was built in Wedel in the 1960s to provide electricity to the nearby city of Hamburg and was retrofitted into a combined heat and power (CHP) plant in the 1980s. There are now plans for a new 400-MW gas-fired CHP power station to be built in Wedel later this decade that will be owned and operated by Swedish power company Vattenfall, which also runs the existing coal station.
AZPA's proposal, which pertains to the new power station, takes cues from its location on the banks of the Elbe and the native riparian forest which once prevailed there. Though initially the idea would be to erect a green textile structure to create an immediate visual barrier, this would be replaced over time with meshes that would support climbing vegetation.
As well as climbing plants, trees would be planted around the power station. Initially, fast-growing species would be favored, and taller trees, such as poplars, would be planted nearer to the power station, again creating a visual barrier.
Though both trees and climbing plants will sequester some CO2, the proposal is probably more aesthetically than environmentally motivated. AZPA writes that its proposal attempts to "resolve the conflict between the natural ecology and the manmade environment."