Saturday, April 22, 2023

Germany Closes Last Three Nuclear Power Stations As Nation Turns Back To Coal

 by Graham William Lear, 22 April 2023 (originally posted on

The last three nuclear power stations go offline, as Germany goes back to coal

Welzow Sud opencast lignite mine

The last three nuclear power stations go offline, as Germany goes back to coal

The country of “Atomkraft? Nein danke” turns Net Zero into ‘Not Close To Net Zero’

On Saturday Germany extinguished its last three remaining nuclear power stations, in a delayed move which started 12 years ago after a policy decision by Angela Merkel. Originally numbering 17, there are now ‘net zero’ nuclear power stations in Germany, but the German coal-fired power plants are being fired up to take up the strain.

At a time when Germany has been in the midst of an energy crisis principally caused by its government’s decisions to rely on President Putin for its energy supplies, (Oh how the Germans laughed when Trump told them they would rue the day) Germany has decoupled its last three remaining nuclear power stations from the electricity grid. Somewhat astonishingly it has been re-commissioning its mothballed coal-fired power stations instead.

What’s the point of expensive UK Net Zero policies when Germany increases its CO2?

In a country where the Greens have been powerful for years — and are now one of the three coalition partners in Olaf Scholz’s government — I question the coherence of Germany’s energy decisions.

I also present evidence of how Germany has been blowing smoke rings across the EU and across Europe as a whole — and how this is set to increase.

Germany’s use of coal to power itself, compared with the UK, 2022

  • Germany: 31.0%
  • UK: 1.6%
  • Germany’s use of coal to generate electricity is over 19 times that of the UK

[Source: Our World in Data/Ember, Oxford University, accessed 17 Apr 2023.]

Germany was already one of the EU’s worst polluters — now it looks set to get worse

When it comes to the worst polluters in the EU, Germany is right up there. Now, thanks to the decisions of the German government, it will pollute the planet even more.

25 years ago Germany was generating almost 30% of its electricity from nuclear power. By 2013, thanks to Angela Merkel, this had almost halved to 15.4%. Now it’s ‘net zero’.

The problem for Germany — an intensive user of energy — is that it must keep its vast industries powered up, and renewables simply will not do that. This is why the German government is now firing up its mothballed coal-fired power stations as I reported months ago) in order to keep its industries going and to keep its people from freezing to death in the sometimes very cold German winters. Oh, how they sniggered at Trump when he warned them about relying on Russian energy, they ait sniggering now are they?

German business is worried and the government is divided

On Saturday Peter Adrian, President of Germany’s DIHK (Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce), told the Rheinische Post

“Despite lower gas prices, energy costs for most businesses in Germany remain high. At the same time, we’re still not out of the woods yet as regards security of supply.”

Germany’s tripartite coalition is not in complete agreement over this policy, with the head of the Free Democratic Party, Christian Lindner “regretting the shutdown”.

Yesterday in Bavaria in southern Germany Premier Markus Söder of the centre-right CSU even demanded his state should be allowed to take control of the Isar 2 nuclear power plant which lies around 50 miles north of Munich. This is one of the three which was permanently taken off the grid the previous night.

“Bavaria is, therefore, demanding that the federal government give states the responsibility for the continued operation of nuclear power. Until the [energy] crisis ends and while the transition to renewables has not succeeded, we must use every form of energy until the end of the decade. Bavaria is ready to face up to this responsibility.

“We are a pioneer in nuclear fusion research and are examining the construction of our own research reactor, in cooperation with other countries. It can’t be that a country of engineers like Germany gives up any claim to shaping the future and international competitiveness.”

Opposition to the nuclear shutdown has taken many forms. It was only in January that the people of the entire village of Lützerath were forcibly evicted and their properties razed to the ground, to make way for an open-cast coal mine. The coal there is lignite, considered to be the worst kind environmentally. Thousands were demonstrated but to no avail.

A drone photo of Lützerath, Germany, on January 9. Activists have occupied the village for more than two years in a bid to prevent it from being demolished.

It’s not the first lignite open cast mine below is the Hambach lignite mine in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia

There are three lignite mining regions in Germany

All the mines look like the photos above

German people have more in common with the British than you might think

Interestingly, the ordinary German people are expressing contrary views to their government, in the same way, that has happened in the UK on many key issues. Here are the results of the latest polling I found in a German newspaper at the weekend. The Forsa survey was conducted for one of Germany’s most-watched TV stations, RTL.

  • Only 28% of Germans favoured switching off the remaining nuclear power stations
  • Two-thirds favour extending the lifespan of nuclear reactors or connecting old plants back to the grid

[Source: Forsa Institute, Berlin, Frankfurt, Dortmund and Hamburg.]

Despite the views of the people, the coalition government of Olaf Scholz went ahead with the decommissioning anyway. Meanwhile, nearly 20 coal-fired power stations have been put back into service in the last year. These are amongst the 151 which I have previously reported on, which are being considered for re-commissioning.

The lies and hypocrisy over ‘Net Zero’ in the EU recently have even surprised ME — and believe me, I am used to it.

I would like to remind readers that Ursula von der Leyen’s Commission’s TOP priority is her ‘Green Deal’. Hundreds of billions have been thrown at this and there is barely an EU press statement on any subject which doesn’t try to tie some policy or other to green issues.

And yet here we have Germany, the largest economy in the EU (by far), with massive industries and the largest population of any EU country, switching off the last of its perfectly functioning nuclear power stations.

Are wind and solar power expected to take up the slack? No. Instead, Germany is powering up its mothballed coal-fired power stations and even creating new open-cast coal mines. And yet the Greens are one of the three parties in power in Germany and they’re all for this? It almost beggars belief.

The big question for British readers is why on earth we should be expected to make enormous sacrifices, stop buying cars we love, stop being able to drive them in metropolitan areas, pay for very expensive ‘heat pumps’, continue to subsidise ‘green energy’ projects on a massive scale, while Germany’s CO2 emissions are going to continue to soar across the continent?

Sources: OWID (Oxford University) | Forsa Institute | Rheinische Post, SDZ, RTL, and other German media ]

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