ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT REPORT
December 30, 2021
2:33 p.m. ET
Germany has announced that it will close its remaining six nuclear power plants by the end of 2022, ending its reliance on renewable energy sources altogether.
“For the energy sector in Germany, denuclearization is the final step,” said Kerstin Andreae, head of the country’s largest energy industry association. told Reuters.
Three of the nuclear reactors will close on Friday while the other three will close after a year, according to Reuters. The German government accelerated the phase-out of nuclear power after the Fukushima disaster in Japan in 2011, a disaster for which the International Atomic Energy Agency has rated the highest accident severity.
In 2020, nuclear power accounts for about 6% of Germany’s total energy supply and produces more than 11% of the country’s electricity, data from the International Energy Agency (IEA) shows. By comparison, nuclear power accounted for more than 13% of the country’s total energy supply and produced nearly 30% of electricity in 2000. (RELATED: Nuclear could be the ticket to a carbon-free future. Why do environmentalists hate it?)
“Each country pursues its own strategy to combat man-made climate change,” said German Chancellor Olaf Scholz speak on December 10 when asked if nuclear power is sustainable, Reuters reported. “What unites us is that we recognize that responsibility and are ambitious.”
Reuters news agency reported at the time that Sholz had explicitly stopped labeling nuclear as a renewable energy source. Nuclear power does not produce any emissions and considered clean of the United States government.
Germany keep pursuing an energy policy that would make renewables account for 80% of electricity demand by 2030.
However, the move to close all nuclear plants in Germany is expected to make the country more dependent on fossil fuels, follow to the Center for the Promotion of Sustainable Development. It would also make Germany more dependent on natural gas imports from Russia, which has been accused of manipulating supplies for geopolitical purposes.
Finally, the country plans to generate most of its electricity from solar and wind in the future, two renewable energy sources already established. be censured as unreliable and intermittent. Europe is currently in the midst of an energy crisis largely due to the wind blows at less than capacity, forcing more reliance on natural gas and increasing energy bills. (RELATED: ‘Can’t Power The World With Just Solar Panels And Wind Turbines’: Bipartisan Lawmakers Advocate for Nuclear Power Boost)
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Rory McCarthy, senior analyst at energy research firm Wood Mackenzie, told Reuters last week: “If we have high winds or moderate winds during that time period, we’re not going to see rallies. This price”.
According to the IEA, wind produces about 23% of Germany’s electricity, and solar about 9% by 2020.