For four decades, Germany has been a leading nation in renewable energy. But now with its ambitious shift to gas and coal power, the country is becoming more vulnerable than ever before at the hands of Russia’s Vladimir Putin.
Germany has announced that they will be phasing out nuclear power. This is a huge step for the country and will help them in their energy transition.
The Board of Editors
The Board of Editors
6:52 p.m., December 22, 2021 ET
On November 8, steam rises from the Grohnde Nuclear Power Plant’s cooling towers in Grohnde, Germany.
Sean Gallup/Getty Images/Sean Gallup/Getty Images/Sean Gallup/G
A nation facing a generational energy shortage may be expected to do everything necessary to increase supplies. Despite this, Germany plans to close three nuclear power reactors by the end of the year, accounting for almost half of the country’s nuclear power output.
Ten years ago, 17 nuclear reactors provided over a quarter of Germany’s energy, but the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011 pushed former Chancellor Angela Merkel to phase out nuclear power. Three reactors will go down this month, with the remaining three shutting down next year. On economic, climatic, and geopolitical reasons, it’s difficult to imagine a more self-defeating program.
The shutdown had been foreseen for years, but keeping the reactors operational for longer than planned may have alleviated some of the agony Germans are experiencing now as global demand pushes up energy prices. The one-year forward price of electricity in Germany has surpassed €300 per megawatt hour. In contrast, the average price per megawatt hour from 2010 to 2020 was less than €50.
Many of Germany’s climate-change zealots embrace the anti-nuclear campaign, but forsaking carbon-free nuclear power has had predicted emissions consequences. In the first half of 2021, coal was Germany’s most important energy source, providing more than a quarter of the country’s power. Wind and solar accounted for 22% and 9% of total production, respectively, while nuclear accounted for roughly 12%.
France emits half as much carbon dioxide per capita as Germany, thanks to its heavy reliance on nuclear power. As a consequence of nuclear outages and increased susceptibility to spiking natural gas costs, the French are now dealing with high energy prices. However, Paris is retaliating by constructing additional nuclear reactors.
Berlin is increasing its dependence on Russian gas to keep the lights on, while being at the whim of the sun and wind. This is the context for the US’s lackluster reaction to Russia’s actions in Ukraine. Despite objections from friends, Germany’s unwavering backing for Russia’s Nord Stream 2 gas project hinders the West’s reaction to Vladimir Putin’s plans to control Eastern Europe.
Germany is now lobbying for nuclear power to be removed from the European Union’s list of “environmentally sustainable economic activities,” a classification that might reduce the cost of nuclear project funding. It’s bad enough that Germany has jeopardized its own energy security; they shouldn’t impose their self-destructive agenda on the rest of Europe.
The energy supply crisis is exacerbated by poor policy decisions. Associated Press photo
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The print version of the December 23, 2021, was published.
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Germany has been the world leader in renewable energy, but they have decided to surrender their leadership and go back to fossil fuels. China is now becoming a global leader in renewable energy. Reference: chinese nuclear power plant.
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