We drove across northern Germany a few days ago, following the A1 autobahn from Hamburg to Osnabrück through long stretches of low hills and lower fields lush with crops.
The motorway forms the upper limits of the ancient Roman expansion into northern Germany, which was stopped in the great Battle of the Teutonic Forest, the Varius Disaster of the year 9 AD.
The battle was won when an alliance of Germanic tribes slaughtered three entire Roman legions. A dominating power that had seemed unbeatable was turned back. The future of the region was definitively altered .
Now, it’s all peaceful farmland broken by deciduous forest – and endless thickets of massive wind generators.
Every field seems to have at least a few and their blades turn slowly through the skies as if responsible for the myriad white clouds that dot the blue.
Germany has committed to phasing out nuclear power by 2022, and the wind farms a major part of the renewable alternative. Giant white trunks and engine housings the size of large semi-trucks.
These aren’t the big wind farms of the North Sea with their rows of turbines. These are small, independent groups of power generators, scattered allies that form part of a larger movement.
And so a new future begins.