Germany Decides to Close Nuclear Plants By 2022, Increase Renewable Generation
By Jabeen Bhatti
BERLIN—The German government will seek to shut all of the country’s nuclear plants by 2022 and to use energy efficiency measures and increased renewable energy production to fill the power gap, officials announced May 30.
If the Cabinet and Parliament approve the plans, Germany would become the first major industrial power to abandon nuclear energy following the crisis in Japan that began March 11.
German government officials said the eight power plants currently offline, which include the country’s seven oldest plus one undergoing maintenance, will remain permanently shut with one facility in reserve capacity until 2013.
The seven were taken offline as part of a three-month moratorium Chancellor Angela Merkel put in place March 14. The moratorium also applied to a law that took effect Jan. 1, extending the lives of Germany’s nuclear power by 14 years to 2036 (34 INER 270, 3/16/11).
The new plan includes phasing out the country’s other reactors before 2021 and keeping three online, if deemed necessary, until 2022.
Officials said Germany will cut electricity use 10 percent in the next decade and will increase the amount of renewable energy in the mix to 35 percent, while reducing carbon dioxide emissions to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2022.
Nuclear power plants had provided 23 percent of Germany’s electricity before the reactors were taken offline in March.
The proposal, which has not been officially released, is expected to be adopted by the German Cabinet June. 6. The country’s legislature will vote on it by early July.
“We can achieve such a transformation toward efficiency and renewable energies, and with it, capitalize on the opportunities that it brings for exports, new technologies, and jobs,” Merkel told reporters. “We have to fundamentally change our energy architecture, and we want the electricity supply of the future to be safer, reliable and also economical.” …