Monday, May 30, 2011

What Will Power Their Country?

Unless they come up with some pixie dust or something, I'm not quite sure what they're planning that will keep the lights on:
Germany on Monday became the first major industrialised power to agree an end to nuclear power in the wake of the disaster in Japan, with a phase-out to be completed by 2022.

Chancellor Angela Merkel said the decision, hammered out by her centre-right coalition overnight, marked the start of a "fundamental" rethink of energy policy in the world's number four economy...

Monday's decision, which could run into legal challenges from energy companies, means Germany will have to find the 22 percent of its electricity needs that were covered by nuclear power from other sources...

Merkel's spokesman Steffen Seibert said the plan would uphold four priorities: Germany's standing as a top global economy, an affordable and sufficient energy supply, climate protection and independence from energy imports.
I don't know what they're expecting, but it'll be interesting to watch. It doesn't get much more affordable, sufficient, and "climate protection-y" than nuclear.

Update, 6/2/11: Hard to disagree with this:
The scenarios with the most catastrophic outcomes of global warming are low probability outcomes -- a fact that explains why the world’s governments in practice treat reducing CO2 emissions as a low priority, despite paying lip service to it. But even if the worst outcomes were likely, the rational response would not be a conversion to wind and solar power but a massive build-out of nuclear power. Nuclear energy already provides around 13-14 percent of the world’s electricity and nearly 3 percent of global final energy consumption, while wind, solar and geothermal power combined account for less than one percent of global final energy consumption.
And they will continue to account for such small amounts because they are either not reliable, not continuous, or not plentiful enough (geothermal).

10 comments:

Ellen K said...

Given that the only domestic alternative Germany has is coal, they will either start refiring coal plants or the price of oil will double within weeks. At that point, the pressure will be on Obama to lift drilling bans so that the US can use oil to pull us out of an economic Slough of Despair. Oh the irony.....

MikeAT said...

They may want to look to France with around 4/5 of it's power from nukes.  It's reliable, powers a first rate economy, as you mentioned is enviro friendly and has enabled France to be somewhat energy independent..  

Gee, I wonder if the leftists in this country will ever figure that out

socalmike said...

What's interesting about that blurb is that the coalition is "center-right". Wow, that's a surprise.

And they're in for a surprise, too, when they find that there is no other way to recoup 22% of their needs (which is a lot of electricity!) than with coal or natural gas. What will the Gore-crowd say about that?

I read the other day that New York City gets 26% of their electricity by nuclear, and to replace that with wind, it would take a wind farm the size of Rhode Island to replace it. That's a lot of windmills.

Good luck, Germany, you'll need it. I give them 5 years to change their minds.

Anonymous said...

Coal! :-)

http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,,15065249,00.html

At least coal is organic :-)

-Mark Roulo

mazenko said...

Yes, but they weathered the '08 recession better than we did by companies committing to keeping unemployment low - even if that meant fewer hours and lower dividends. And the manufacturing growth in Germany is the strongest anywhere in the industrialized world right now. So, I guess we'll see whether your pessimism wins out over their forward thinking.

KauaiMark said...

The article mentioned an old school replacement:

... natural gas and coal-fired plants"

Darren said...

Mazenko, I'm not sure what that has to do with generating electricity....

MikeAT said...

Darren

mazenko is making a point.....don't confuse him with the facts! ;)

Personal Home Inspector said...

Safe, clean alternative energy is the future. Fukishima and Chernobyl have poisoned the air, land, water and food in the surrounding areas. It is time to phase out nuclear energy and ramp up wind, solar wave energy and geothermal.

Darren said...

Chernobyl was temporary, Fukushima is not much of anything as far as poisoning goes, and what you listed isn't plentiful enough, constant enough, or reliable enough to power a modern country. Heck, we have environmentalists in California who object to a big solar array in the CA desert because it will disturb the ecology or some such. The Kennedys don't want windmill farms off Hyannis. I say, stick with what works, and nuclear works. It's safe, clean, and reliable--2 accidents in 65 years is a pretty good record in my book.