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German energy experiment lurches into new territory

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At midnight on 15-16 of this month, Germany shut down its last nuclear power generation capacity – forever.  It was asked for one last hurrah over the winter (the Putin effect): but that’s it now, despite dumb German politicians at the highest levels who seemed to think these things could just be switched on and off at will, and that actually we don’t need fossil fuels or nukes at all.

Here’s some dramatic irony.  For those that care about these things – and some people care a lot – the carbon intensity of the German power fleet on 15-16 April was 550 g/kWh**.  And what if Germany had maintained its nukes at the 2003 level, its peak in that country?  It would have been just 50 g/kWh, with no coal-, lignite-, gas- or oil-fired electricity required whatsoever on that day (peaking could have been provided by hydro and dispatchable biomass).  For comparison, the UK typically comes in at under 150g, having halved since 2012.  

So – as the usual suspects gear up to sue the EC for declaring nukes (and gas) to be “green”, let them think on that 11-fold increase in carbon intensity which might, over-simplifying slightly, be attributed to the policy-driven closures of nukes in Germany.

Germany really is the poster-child for crass policy making across the spectrum, and it’s unravelling at a rate of knots since Merkel headed off into the sunset.  I don’t quite know where people get off on holding the country up as a model of rationality and consensus.  Good luck to them over the next few years, as they grapple with “new realities” for their energy, industrial, foreign and defence policies.  Not to mention the 1m+ refugees from the middle east.  Those Merkel memoirs will make for interesting reading.



** Was it perhaps a day with no wind?  No, there was a decent contribution from wind, ditto solar in the middle of the day.


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