Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Germany to close nuclear reactors despite energy crisis

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Taking three nuclear vegetation together with Gundremmingen offline will slash German energy output by 4 gigawatts.

Germany will shut down three nuclear energy vegetation on Friday whilst Europe faces one among its worst ever energy crises, following Angela Merkel’s timetable for phasing out atomic energy.

With energy costs already on the rise and tensions increased than ever between Europe and key gasoline provider Russia, the closure of the vegetation in Brokdorf, Grohnde and Gundremmingen may properly tighten the squeeze.

The transfer will halve remaining nuclear capability in Germany and cut back energy output by round 4 gigawatts—equal to the facility produced by 1,000 wind generators.

Protests over the Fukushima in 2011 prompted former chancellor Merkel to set the wheels in movement for abandoning nuclear energy simply over 10 years in the past.

Germany is planning to utterly wind down by the tip of 2022, when it is going to shut its ultimate three vegetation in Neckarwestheim, Essenbach and Emsland.

But with energy costs hovering throughout Europe, the timing of the plans coming to fruition may hardly be worse.

Europe’s reference gasoline worth, Dutch TTF, hit 187.78 euros per megawatt hour in December—10 instances increased than firstly of the yr—and electrical energy costs are additionally hovering.

The spike has been fuelled by geopolitical tensions with Russia, which provides one third of Europe’s gasoline.

Western nations accuse Russia of limiting gasoline deliveries to put stress on Europe amid tensions over the Ukraine battle.

Moscow additionally desires to push by way of the controversial Nord Stream 2 pipeline, set to ship nonetheless extra Russian gasoline to Germany.

Price hikes

The finish of in Germany will doubtless push costs up even additional, in accordance to Sebastian Herold, a professor of energy coverage on the Darmstadt University of Applied Sciences.

“In the long term, the hope is that an increase in renewable energy will balance things out, but this will not be the case in the short term,” he informed AFP.

Until Germany can actually ramp up renewables, it is going to stay depending on to plug the hole left by the nuclear exit.

“This will make Germany more dependent on natural gas overall, at least in the short term, and thus also a little more dependent on Russia,” Herold mentioned.

The transition may take longer than Germany would really like, with progress on renewables slowed in recent times by opposition to energy infrastructure tasks.

The proportion of energy generated by renewables is anticipated to fall in 2021 for the primary time since 1997—to 42 p.c, in contrast with 45.3 p.c in 2020.

As properly as driving up costs, the nuclear plant closures can even take away a key supply of low-carbon energy in a rustic that’s already struggling to meet formidable local weather targets.

The new coalition authorities below Social Democrat Olaf Scholz has pledged to carry ahead Germany’s deliberate coal exit to 2030 and desires Germany to generate 80 p.c of its electrical energy from renewables by the identical yr.

Second ideas?

But Robert Habeck, the co-leader of the Green get together and head of a newly created super-ministry for the financial system and local weather, admitted this week that Germany is already on track to miss its local weather targets for 2022 and doubtless additionally 2023.

Other EU nations, together with France, are persevering with to push nuclear energy and campaigning for it to be included on the EU’s listing of sustainable energy sources eligible for funding.

Even in Germany, public opinion in direction of nuclear appears to be softening.

In a latest YouGov survey for the Welt am Sonntag newspaper, round 50 p.c of Germans mentioned they had been in favour of reversing the deliberate nuclear shutdown due to the latest sharp rise in energy costs.

Monika Schnitzer, a member of the German Council of Economic Experts, informed the Rheinische Post newspaper that it will make sense “economically and ecologically” to delay the shutdown.

But the federal government is sticking to Merkel’s plan, with Habeck this week defending the nuclear shutdown.

Any politician calling for the reintroduction of nuclear energy “would also have to say, I would like to have the nuclear waste in my constituency,” he mentioned. “As soon as someone says that, I will revisit the issue.”


Merkel: No method again on German plan to finish nuclear energy use


© 2021 AFP

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Germany to close nuclear reactors despite energy crisis (2021, December 31)
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