Nuclear Out, Clean Energy In In Germany

Germany, already a world leader in clean energy with reportedly 17% of the electricity used in homes through out the country coming from a renewable source, made a even larger step towards a green energy future recently. The country’s chancellor Angela Merkel declared her country intends to close down all of its nuclear plants within a decade and move towards much more clean energy usage.

Merkel said Germany, besides shutting down all nuclear power stations by 2022, plans to raise its target of clean energy usage up to 35 percent by 2020. Speaking in Spain, Merkel said the country wants to move towards safer, greener forms of energy. “Germany can become an international pioneer, the first nation to manage to move away from traditional energy sources to renewables,” the country’s chancellor said.

image via German Federal Government

As lofty as these clean energy goals are, there are a few caveats to be considered. For example, natural gas will have to play a role in making up for the energy lost with the nuclear plants shutdown. Also, it has been said by German nuclear specialists that there could be energy shortfalls in southern Germany in winter. Should this occur, the nuclear power stations that have already been closed down are to be a so-called cold reserve. The caveat to this caveat though is that the reserve is only to be available for a maximum of two years.

With Germany’s decision, it is said, the country becomes “the first industrialized nation since Italy in 1986 to shut down its nuclear reactors.” The federal government has already finalized a bill, it said, to reform the Renewable Energies Law. Not surprisingly, lawsuits are expected from Germany’s energy operators to challenge the proposed nuclear shutdown and “receive due compensation for the financial damages associated with these decisions.”

I am the editor-in-chief and founder for EarthTechling. This site is my desire to bring the world of green technology to consumers in a timely and informative matter. Prior to this my previous ventures have included a strong freelance writing career and time spent at Silicon Valley start ups.