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Germany Shutters Its Last Nuclear Power Plants, Becoming More Reliant onFossil Fuel Energy

Germany Shutters Its Last Nuclear Power Plants, Becoming More Reliant onFossil Fuel Energy

Meanwhile, German environmental extremists pledge new wave of blockades.

We have been following energy issues in Europe, especially in Germany. The nation is an economic powerhouse for the continent and had a very challenging time meeting grid demands during a chilly winter.

Despite the problems in making supply meet demand, the nation decided it was wise to proceed with a decision made in 2011 to Germany has now shuttered its last remaining nuclear power plants.

The shutdown of Germany’s last remaining nuclear reactors over the weekend means the country’s power producers have no option but to further accelerate their ongoing energy system overhaul.

With natural gas supplies still severely constrained following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last year, the reactor shutdowns mean that two key sources of baseload power have now been disrupted or cut off to Europe’s largest economy.

Somewhat offsetting the shake-ups in Germany’s nuclear and gas markets has been a steady surge in renewable energy supplies from solar and wind sites, which generated nearly 40% more electricity in 2022 than nuclear and natural gas sources combined, according to data from think tank Ember.

However, the intermittent nature of renewable energy sources – which leaves them susceptible to sudden drops during cloudy or windless periods – means Germany’s electricity system remains vulnerable to shortages and potential price volatility, despite the growing share of renewables in the generation mix.

This move was made, despite the pleas of many scientists, including two Nobel laureates and professors from MIT and Columbia, to keep the reactors operating.

“In view of the threat that climate change poses to life on our planet and the obvious energy crisis in which Germany and Europe find themselves due to the unavailability of Russian natural gas, we call on you to continue operating the last remaining German nuclear power plants,” the letter states.

The Emsland, Isar II and Neckarwestheim II facilities provided more than 10 million German households with electricity, the open letter states. That’s a quarter of the population.

“This is hugely disappointing, when a secure low carbon 24/7 source of energy such as nuclear was available and could have continued operation for another 40 years,” Henry Preston, spokesperson for the World Nuclear Association, told CNBC. “Germany’s nuclear industry has been world class. All three of those reactors shut down at the weekend performed extremely well.”

Achievement unlocked!

Germany shut down its last three nuclear power plants last week, and suddenly its carbon footprint is the second-highest in Europe behind only Poland, which proudly continues to burn its own coal and doesn’t care to virtue signal with babble about whatever the Polish language equivalent of energiewende is. Here’s the carbon map and energy breakdown for yesterday.

The move has also completely agitated the environmental extremists planning blockades and protests in Berlin.

The group said at a news conference in Berlin that it would begin to stage open-ended protests Wednesday in the government district. From Monday onward, members will try to “peacefully bring the city to a standstill,” it said.

Last Generation accuses the German government of breaching the country´s constitution, citing a supreme court verdict two years ago that found too much of the burden for climate change was being placed on younger generations. The government under then Chancellor Angela Merkel subsequently raised its targets for cutting greenhouse gas emissions, but activists say the measures aren’t consistent with the Paris climate accord.

“As long as there´s no plan we can trust to protect our lives and future, and that´s based on the constitution, we are obliged to demand such a plan with all peaceful means,” said Carla Hinrichs, a spokesperson for Last Generation.

The group wants Germany to end the use of all fossil fuels by 2030, a step that would be extremely ambitious to achieve. The country switched off its last three nuclear plants over the weekend, increasing its reliance on coal and gas-fired power plants until sufficient renewable energy capacity is available.

Civilization requires energy. While closing older nuclear power plants would be a good idea if replacement plants were already constructed. Germany will have to rely more on fossil fuels because the green technology promises are not ready to meet need realities.

I discussed this topic, among several others, during my recent appearance on the Canto Talk Show.


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Germany’s shutting down these nuclear power plants represents pure, indefensible and unadulterated foolishness.

Wind and solar power are chimeric, expensive and unreliable sources by which to attempt to power an industrialized economy.

Finland, to its great credit, is moving in the opposite direction as contrasted with German stupidity, and recently brought a new nuclear power plant online:

    healthguyfsu in reply to guyjones. | April 20, 2023 at 10:44 am

    It represents malfeasance. There is no sane, intelligent person that would do it for any other reason.

    randian in reply to guyjones. | April 20, 2023 at 8:27 pm

    I would argue it’s evil, not foolishness, that drives them. You can be certain that government buildings and the homes of government employees will be given priority during power shortages. That effectively makes them the new nobility, and everyone else serfs, which is a more than plausible motive.

    Germany is going to find itself becoming East Germany again – only this time, it’ll be the entire nation.

Remember when people used to think the Germans were good at engineering and math? Yeah, not so much.

This is simply more proof that environmentalists live in a magical world with magical thinking. They criticize reality with mythical worries while ignoring the simple impossibility of what they demand. It is every bit a religious movement that caters to unrealistic oddballs and idealists which is why, I guess, the Left loves them so much. Frankly, I’m surprised they haven’t tried pushing unicorn farts as a new safe energy source for the world.

    MattMusson in reply to Cleetus. | April 20, 2023 at 10:27 am

    By this time next year NETZERO will have pushed 1 billion more people into starvation; mostly poor people in Asia, Africa and parts of South America. They will try and blame it all on the Ukraine war or bad distribution. But, you will know it is the result of a shortage of fossil fuel fertilizer brought on by Green Energy Advocates who act without rational thought.

    This will be the largest Starvation Event in Human History. And will last until we drill enough natural gas for fertilizer or a 500 million people starve to death.

    healthguyfsu in reply to Cleetus. | April 20, 2023 at 10:45 am

    In this case, the environmentalists are right. Nuclear energy is cleaner than coal.

E Howard Hunt | April 20, 2023 at 8:35 am

Nobel laureates, MIT professors? They can’t even begin to compare to Jane Fonda in The China Syndrome.

In view of the threat that climate change poses to life on our planet …

And these “scientists” wonder why people don’t listen to them anymore. The wild overreaction by the “scientific community” to the Wuflu blew their credibility for good, and repeated predictions about the end of the world due to environmental degradation (prediction that have yet to come true) only further shred what is left of their reputations.

Oh, how Neanderthal of them!

I guess Russia and Trump get blamed for this?

I don’t see Germany stopping the importation of French Nuclear generated electricity. Hypocrites.

Is the entire point of leftism to diagnose problems and then make decisions that make those problems worse?

On another note
SpaceX exploded today , how did we ever make it to the moon 50+ years ago?

I know we had German masterminds working for us at the time

    alaskabob in reply to gonzotx. | April 20, 2023 at 1:18 pm

    A quick look back at the early space race is telling. The Atlas ICBM, destined for orbital Mercury, was blowing up big time. Betty Grissom commented that NASA would not be dumb enough to use the Atlas… ah…. they were and they did. The Titan used in Gemini was not swift at firstRemember the US’s first orbital satellite launch…. blew up on pad at launch. The super heavy and Starship made it through MaxQ which is impressive. 6 Raptors didn’t work… that was a basic issue. All in all…. it was a very good start…. although the launch pad was wiped.

    DaveGinOly in reply to gonzotx. | April 20, 2023 at 7:29 pm

    Musk is pushing the envelope. There’s no comparison between what was done (with a considerable amount of luck, only recently acknowledged) decades ago with what Musk is attempting now. “Just make it bigger” doesn’t work in rocket science.

    tlcomm2 in reply to gonzotx. | April 20, 2023 at 8:18 pm

    When you push the envelope, the envelope occasionally pushes back. All part of the learning curve and engineering process.

    Blow unmanned stuff up so you learn to not do that when it is manned.

BierceAmbrose | April 20, 2023 at 2:05 pm

Well done, greenies.

Literally all of their policies and prescriptions produce the opposite of the avowed result. At least they’re consistent.

What did Germans use for heating after nuclear power? Downed forest timber.

Subotai Bahadur | April 20, 2023 at 4:18 pm

I will note two things. First, I have been given to understand that almost immediately after the shutdown German electricity rates went up about 45%. Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy!

Second, we live in an interconnected economy, Although how long that will last is open to question. Let us say that a company somewhere makes widgets. And that among the components of said widgets there are things called googaws. And that said company buys the googaws instead of making them by themselves.

If you are looking for a manufacturer of googaws, in an interconnected world economy, one of the places that manufactures things is Germany. One of the key inputs in googaw [and any] manufacturing is cost of energy needed. Germany just increased that cost component severely. Another factor in buying from an outside manufacturer is reliability of production and delivery, If you cannot get the googaws when needed, then your widget manufacturing and sales schedule is scrod. The first series of industrial power blackouts that delays googaw delivery is going to be a sign that maybe Germany may not be the best place to source from for anything, no matter how good a game they talk or how well they did it in the past.

And the German economy goes 10-7. Leaving aside that the world has seen what has happened in Germany before in such a situation, we still have the reduced industrial capacity and world trade,

And there is nothing we can do about it. Germany chose to commit economic suicide. We cannot prevent it and the only rational courses for other countries including ourselves are to a) do not imitate Germany, and b) arrange things so that we are not vulnerable to the aftereffects of said German economic suicide.

Subotai Bahadur

    Biden’s energy policy seems calculated to make the US vulnerable to such problems, as well as make his green energy cronies obscenely rich.

    The practical effect of what you describe is it pushes the production of googaws, and any other energy intensive product, to locations that have lest strict environmental controls. What is intended to have the effect of reducing pollution may have just the opposite effect.

    The single best proxy for environmental cost or impact of complex systems is cost. Make the cost of things go up, and that is a good proxy to understand we choose to use less efficient means, and less efficient means lead to more, not less, pollution. Of course, most of it is in places you don’t see, so it doesn’t really count.

David Walker | April 21, 2023 at 9:41 am

Creating cold hungry broke Germans will not end well.

“increasing its reliance on coal and gas-fired power plants until sufficient renewable energy capacity is available.”

That will be exactly never. There was chance with nuclear but now that it’s off the table, you’re relying on intermittent and unreliable solar, wind, and water power, and until you can really control the weather, that won’t happen.

Oh, they’re working on such ideas as tidal power but no one believes that can provide sufficient power to “power” an economy like Germany’s.

This is how we know the climate cultists do not even believe themselves. If they actually believed that CO2 was destroying us via ‘climate change’ then they would be screaming for MORE nuclear power.

retiredcantbefired | April 21, 2023 at 1:45 pm

Unless they leave the environmental movement entirely, like Michael Shellenberger, no believer in anthropogenic global warming is willing to champion nuclear power. The environmental movement has always wanted to suppress nuclear power.