Title: Power exports peak, despite nuclear phase-out
Author: Günther Birkenstock
Editor: Martin Kuebler
Renewable energy sources are booming in Germany, and electric utilities exported more power in 2012 than ever before. But energy experts warn that what sounds like progress has its downsides.
Germany began turning off its nuclear power plants 18 months ago, following the Fukushima disaster in Japan. Since then, many in the business and industrial communities and the general public have feared that the country would soon be facing energy shortages and even blackouts [...]
Instead, Germany has produced so much electricity this year that it has actually exported its surplus. [...]
The rapid increase in power generation in Germany from wind, solar and hydro, however, has been accompanied by an equally rapid decrease in the price of electricity – and not just for German consumers, but also for large customers outside Germany.
This has resulted in a rise in demand for cheap power from Germany; in particular, from the Netherlands, where – due to the cheap imports – several domestic gas-driven power plants have been taken off the grid [...]
Large corporate and industrial users in Germany, however, view the export figures as evidence that the country’s energy switchover has not been a success. Their industry association, the VIK, noted that wind and solar utilities frequently generated electricity when there was no immediate demand and that eco-friendly power was pushing gas-driven plants out of the market, although these were still needed when the wind wasn’t blowing or the sun wasn’t shining. [...]
See also: "Probable Game-Changer": Special issue of Bulletin of Atomic Scientists shows EXIT from nuclear power brings economic and environmental benefits -- 'Startling' findings
Published: November 11th, 2012 at 2:34 am ET