Don't worry, Putin is happy to pick up the slack and supply gas/oil. Eckkkkk!
Germany’s Energy Surrender
Rarely has a country worked so hard to make itself vulnerable.
By The Editorial Board, WSJ
Dec. 22, 2021 6:52 pm ET
One might expect that a country suffering a generational energy crunch would be trying everything possible to expand supply. Yet Germany is proceeding with the closure of three nuclear power plants—around half of the country’s nuclear power generation—by the end of the year.
Ten years ago 17 nuclear reactors produced about a quarter of Germany’s electricity, but the 2011 Fukushima accident prompted former Chancellor Angela Merkel to phase out nuclear. Six reactors remain: Three will close this month, with the remaining three ceasing operations next year. It’s hard to think of a more self-defeating policy on economic, climate and geopolitical grounds.
The closures have been expected for years, but keeping the reactors open for their previously planned lifetimes could have helped alleviate some of the pain Germans are feeling now as rising global demand drives up the cost of energy. German one-year forward electricity prices have hit €300 per megawatt hour. For comparison, the 2010 to 2020 average was under €50 per megawatt hour.
The antinuclear move has support from many of Germany’s climate-change obsessives, but abandoning carbon-free nuclear power has had predictable results on emissions. Coal was the country’s top energy source in the first half of 2021, generating more than a quarter of Germany’s electricity. Wind and solar produced 22% and 9%, respectively, as nuclear has fallen to around 12%.
France, which relies heavily on nuclear power, puts out about half as much carbon dioxide per capita as Germany. The French also are coping with high energy prices as a result of nuclear outages and greater exposure to skyrocketing natural gas prices. But Paris is responding by building more nuclear reactors.
Berlin—at the self-made mercy of the sun and wind—is now deepening its reliance on Russian gas to keep the lights on. This is the background explanation for its weak response to Russia’s aggression in Ukraine. Germany’s staunch support for the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia, despite opposition from allies, undermines the West’s response to Vladimir Putin’s designs to dominate Eastern Europe.
Germany is now pushing to keep nuclear power off the European Union’s list of “environmentally sustainable economic activities,” a designation that could lower the cost of financing nuclear projects. It’s bad enough that the Germans have undermined their own energy security, but they shouldn’t foist their self-destructive policy on the rest of the Continent.