Germany which has seen the biggest anti-nuclear protests after the Fukushima disaster has decided to completely switch off nuclear power by 2022.In the aftermath of the Nuclear Accident,Germany had temporarily shut 7 of its nuclear reactors none of which is going to be reopened.The other nuclear reactors will also will be completely mothballed by 2022 when their normal life ends.This is a huge death blow to nuclear energy as Germany had one of the largest installed capacities of nuclear power.Switzerland and Japan have killed nuclear energy as well after the catastrophic loss from nuclear power which led to radioactive rain in Seoul,deathly radiation in parts of Japan and the evacuation of 20 kms area from the site of the nuclear plant of TEPCO.
German utilities have protested against the move as recently they were buoyed by the decision of the Merkel led government to extend the life of the nuclear reactors by more than 10 years.However the weight of public opinion has made the German government go into the damage control phase ( though too late in my opinion.German power companies too know that going against popular opposition will be quite fruitless.Note Germany faces problems as the replacement of the 7 shutdown nuclear reactors will be difficult to replace.Solar Power has played an important role but in winter this problem may become acute.According to some analysts,Germany will have to import power (nuclear as well) from other European countries.This will lead to increase in electricity prices.However its a great win for all forms of Green Energy as Germany has no alternative but to go with Green Energy as Germany does not have abundant reserves of Cheap Gas (like USA).Also Coal has its disadvantages which make it very difficult in an environmentally conscious country like Germany.
While the nuclear eradication is good news for the Green Energy Industry,the bad news is that the German government is also considering cutting solar subsidies further as the large amount of solar power being generated has severely dented the revenues of utilities.Note Solar Power is generated most during peak hours when utilities get higher prices .However the 17 GW of solar power installed in Germany has brought down the prices of peak electricity to the lowest in 5 years making life difficult very tough for utilities like RWE,Vattenfall,E.ON and others.Other European utilities too are facing the heat from lower peak power prices ( though its a great development for customers).The German government has discussed lowering solar subsidies though nothing has been finalized.
Environment Minister Norbert Roettgen made the announcement after a meeting of the ruling coalition that lasted into the early hours of this morning, describing it as ‘irreversible’.
‘After long consultations, there is now an agreement by the coalition to end nuclear energy,’ Mr Roettgen told reporters after seven hours of negotiations. ‘This decision is consistent, decisive and clear.’Germany has 17 nuclear reactors, eight of which are currently off the electricity grid.
Seven of those offline are the country’s oldest nuclear reactors, which the federal government shut down for three months pending a safety probe after the Japanese atomic emergency at Fukushima in March.
The shut-down will make Germany the first major industrial power to give up atomic power.
It also means that the country will have to find the 22% of its electricity needs currently covered by nuclear reactors from another source.Mr Roettgen insisted there was no danger of blackouts.’We assure that the electricity supply will be ensured at all times and for all users,’ he pledged, but did not provide details.