Germany's leaders: swift transition to renewable energy

Chancellor Merkel's government and heads of states agree that the nation should swiftly transition from nuclear to renewables - but the timetable, costs of a nuclear-free future remain uncertain.

04/18/2011


Germany's federal and state governments agree that the country should transition from nuclear to renewable energy as soon as possible, according to Chancellor Angela Merkel.

"The overall direction has been agreed, and I'm glad about that," Merkel said. "We all want to get out of nuclear power as soon as possible."

Merkel's center-right coalition government met with the premiers of Germany's 16 states Friday to discuss the country's future energy outlook in light of growing calls within civil society and politics for an end to nuclear power. The emerging national consensus for a plan to quickly shutdown Germany's 17 nuclear power plants comes in the wake of the ongoing Fukushima nuclear crisis in disaster-struck Japan.

Germany has already imposed a moratorium on its seven oldest nuclear power plants. According to Merkel, her cabinet will adopt a new law to set a timetable for the closure of all nuclear plants after the moratorium expires in early June.

Last year, Merkel's government had extended the timetable for the end of nuclear energy by over a decade. The extension came after the left-of-center government led by former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder originally set a deadline of 2022. Center-left Social Democrats have expressed conditional support for Merkel's energy policy based on several factors.

Erwin Sellering, Social Democrat premier of the East German state Mecklenburg-Westpommerania, called on Merkel to return to the original timetable set by the Schröder government.

"We've heard suggestions of 2035," said Sellering. "That's not acceptable. It must come back at least to the time we set before of 2022."

Sellering added that the current moratorium on the seven plants should lead to their permanent shutdown.

The discussions zeroed in on how the transition from nuclear to renewable energy could be accelerated. Environment Minister Norbert Röttgen suggested that Berlin could do more to jumpstart green technology. Röttgen said Germany's federal bank would soon offer $7.25 billion in so-called soft loans to encourage investors to support the construction of wind turbines in the North Sea and Baltic Sea.

"It's difficult to get loans from normal banks on this," he said.

Meanwhile, the question of what it will cost Germany to transition from nuclear to renewable energy remains a subject of public debate.

The daily Süddeutsche Zeitung suggested that it would cost Germany $4.3 billion annually to make the energy leap.

However, liberal Economics Minister Rainer Brüderle predicted the cost would be between $1.4 to $3 billion annually, depending on the pace set through the new law, to be drafted in June.

EIA Analysis Brief

- Edited by Gust Gianos, Consulting-Specifying Engineer, www.csemag.com



No comments
Consulting-Specifying Engineer's Product of the Year (POY) contest is the premier award for new products in the HVAC, fire, electrical, and...
Consulting-Specifying Engineer magazine is dedicated to encouraging and recognizing the most talented young individuals...
The MEP Giants program lists the top mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and fire protection engineering firms in the United States.
High-performance buildings; Building envelope and integration; Electrical, HVAC system integration; Smoke control systems; Using BAS for M&V
Pressure piping systems: Designing with ASME; Lab ventilation; Lighting controls; Reduce energy use with VFDs
Smoke control: Designing for proper ventilation; Smart Grid Standard 201P; Commissioning HVAC systems; Boilers and boiler systems
Case Study Database

Case Study Database

Get more exposure for your case study by uploading it to the Consulting-Specifying Engineer case study database, where end-users can identify relevant solutions and explore what the experts are doing to effectively implement a variety of technology and productivity related projects.

These case studies provide examples of how knowledgeable solution providers have used technology, processes and people to create effective and successful implementations in real-world situations. Case studies can be completed by filling out a simple online form where you can outline the project title, abstract, and full story in 1500 words or less; upload photos, videos and a logo.

Click here to visit the Case Study Database and upload your case study.

Protecting standby generators for mission critical facilities; Selecting energy-efficient transformers; Integrating power monitoring systems; Mitigating harmonics in electrical systems
Commissioning electrical systems in mission critical facilities; Anticipating the Smart Grid; Mitigating arc flash hazards in medium-voltage switchgear; Comparing generator sizing software
Integrating BAS, electrical systems; Electrical system flexibility; Hospital electrical distribution; Electrical system grounding
As brand protection manager for Eaton’s Electrical Sector, Tom Grace oversees counterfeit awareness...
Amara Rozgus is chief editor and content manager of Consulting-Specifier Engineer magazine.
IEEE power industry experts bring their combined experience in the electrical power industry...
Michael Heinsdorf, P.E., LEED AP, CDT is an Engineering Specification Writer at ARCOM MasterSpec.