Germany was wrong to abandon nuclear power, the energy spokesman for Angela Merkel’s party has said. The last atomic energy plants are due to be shut by the end of 2022, leaving the country struggling to plug the gap in its electricity generation and meet its climate targets as it prepares to abolish its coal industry. Business leaders and conservative politicians have begun to demand a stay of execution amid soaring energy costs and a looming shortfall in capacity. Germany will have to replace more than 40 per cent of its electricity sources over the next two decades. Coal-fired power stations still account for more than a third of its generation, with the seven remaining nuclear plants supplying about a tenth. The Philippsburg 2 reactor near Karlsruhe in southwest Germany will be cut off from the grid over the coming fortnight, with three more closing in 2021 and the final three to be mothballed by the end of 2022. Polls suggest the public remains strongly in favour of closing down the industry. Three years ago 70 per cent of Germans told one survey they believed it was the right thing to do and 67 per cent said they would like Europe as a whole to wean itself off atomic energy. Plans to build new reactors at Hinkley Point in Somerset and several sites in France have been bedevilled by delays and cost overruns and have needed large subsidies. Several prominent German conservatives have also suggested it may be time for a shift in the country’s energy policy. Markus Söder, 52, the chief minister of Bavaria, called for “fundamental considerations” about the consequences of giving up coal and nuclear at the same time. At the CDU’s conference last month Friedrich Merz, 64, a perennial candidate for the party leadership, also criticised the high cost of the energy transition.
Times 19th Dec 2019 read more »