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Germany Is Closing Half of Its Reactors at Worst Possible Time

December 23, 2021

By Paul Homewood


Meanwhile in the Net Zero obsessed EU, energy policy goes from bad to worse:



Germany is set to close almost half of its nuclear power capacity before the end of the year, putting further strain on European grids already coping with one of the worst energy crunches in the region’s history.

The shutdowns of Grohnde, Gundremmingen C and Brokdorf — part of the country’s nuclear phaseout — will leave just three atomic plants, which will be taken offline by the end of 2022. Beyond the squeeze on supply, the closures remove a key source of low-carbon power in a nation where emissions are on the rise…

The timing could hardly be worse. Power prices are near record levels across Europe, and Germany will need to rely on generation from costly gas and coal for another 20 years or so — before they too are phased out. Keeping the nuclear stations open any longer isn’t an option since that would require hundreds of millions of euros of investment, Koenig said. 
Increased reliance on fossil fuels will boost emissions further, and Germany is not alone. A number of countries in Europe have ramped up coal-fired power production in recent months as gas supplies failed to meet rebounding demand and wind generation fell short.
Germany intends to take all coal-fired generation offline by 2038, with the lignite power-plant fleet reduced almost 16% by 2024. By that year, high carbon prices and an expansion of renewable power will have cut Germany’s coal production “strongly,” according to the International Energy Agency.

And that trend is set to be replicated, with much of Europe deciding to “get out of coal,” leading to a likely increase in renewable-power assets in the long term, said Sabrina Kernbichler, an analyst at S&P Global Platts.
Yet in the short term, coal is helping to bridge the supply gap. One German utility,
Uniper SE, has postponed the planned decommissioning of its Scholven-B coal plant beyond the end of 2022 following delays in building a replacement gas unit at the site.

Germany currently gets a tenth of its electricity from nuclear. With the Greens now part of the new coalition government, there is little chance that any of the three remaining nuclear plants will be kept going beyond next year.

  1. Tim Leeney permalink
    December 23, 2021 10:10 am

    Time to repeal a few laws, both there, and here: 2008 comes to mind.

    • Vernon E permalink
      December 23, 2021 11:21 am

      Let’s nip this one in the bud because it keeps coming up. It isn’t easy to repeal laws in fact, probably impossible. To change or cancel a law requires the spupport of both Houses of Paliament and within our lifetimes there is not going to be support to cancel, say, the Climate Change Act.

      • Julian Flood permalink
        December 23, 2021 11:42 am

        Wait until the brown outs and energy rationing start. You’ll be surprised.


      • GeoffB permalink
        December 23, 2021 11:56 am

        You can change the % reduction. Theresa May changed it from 80% to 100% in her final vindictive act, not even discussed, so change 100% to 50%, which we are just about at. We stopped using coal and shipped a lot of our CO2 emissions offshore. (Steel and Aluminium smelting). I would rather the climate change act was repealed, but life is a compromise, any reduction from 100% would be a big step.

      • Micky R permalink
        December 23, 2021 5:56 pm

        The abolition of poll tax in the UK in the 1990s demonstrated that widespread civil disobedience can create (relatively) quick changes to legislation, where civil disobedience doesn’t just mean riots.

  2. John permalink
    December 23, 2021 10:14 am

    This is on top of France closing down reactors due to cracks in pipework and safety concerns. It’s all building up to the worst winter energy crisis ever. Probably on the coldest day

    • Ray Sanders permalink
      December 23, 2021 10:38 am

      Reactor 4 at Hunterston B will shutdown by 31st Jan 2022 (reactor 3 shutdown last month). Reactors 3 & 4 at Hinkley Point B will shut down by the end of August (probably sooner) 2022.
      Things are looking pretty grim everywhere!

      • Nicholas Lewis permalink
        December 25, 2021 12:12 pm

        Hunterston Reactor 4 been running at full load since end Nov and all credit to EdF other than one unit on planned mtce all reactors on full load.

  3. Chris Speke permalink
    December 23, 2021 10:17 am

    Has anyone noticed that the departing Chancellor has left power with her policy of dumping Nuclear for fresh air , playing into the hands of Russia !

    • Cheshire Red permalink
      December 23, 2021 11:53 am

      Imagine if she grew up in communist East Germany and was a long-standing disciple of communism? Some might say her departing gift policy of handing strategic energy leverage to Russia is deliberate.

      Oh, wait…!

  4. December 23, 2021 10:17 am

    This is insanity is what you expect when you allow the greens into government.

  5. Ray Sanders permalink
    December 23, 2021 10:42 am

    The world’s two largest sources (by a very long way) of what is defined by the IPCC to be “low carbon” electricity are Hydro Electricity and Nuclear. The Green party, and green groups in genera,l oppose both of them. What does that tell you?

  6. Gamecock permalink
    December 23, 2021 11:14 am

    ‘The timing could hardly be worse.’

    Uhh . . . when would a good time be?

  7. Cheshire Red permalink
    December 23, 2021 11:35 am

    Is there a legal case against these government* policies?

    Government has a duty of care to its citizens. These policies appear to carry a significant risk in the immediate short and medium term.

    Long term ‘planetary-scale’ risks can be addressed later.

    Surely running (completely avoidable) risk of lights out and/or ruinously expensive energy falls into the category of ‘existential’ threat at a national level?

    It’s well-past time to challenge this stupidity in Court. Where does the law stand and what options are available?

    * I’m asking for UK rather than Germany, but the point stands in any country foolish enough to take these risks.

    • Gamecock permalink
      December 23, 2021 12:41 pm

      Don’t expect law to save you from democracy.

    • Colin R Brooks AKA Dung permalink
      December 23, 2021 12:49 pm

      Absolutely what I think Red, my angle was shale gas available on a truly massive scale. How can it be in the interests of its citizens to leave it in the ground???

      • Vernon E permalink
        December 23, 2021 4:54 pm

        Dung: my response to your challenge to provide proof (that earthquakes are not relevant to fracking) is not easy. There is a vast body of literature but mostly relating to water contamination. I found references that a 3.0 mL frack did not cause damage but that a 4.0 caused extensive damage in Texas. Also that lower disturbances caused damage to the wells and caused contamination. Don’t forget that Cauadrilla’s 2.5 mL frack didn’t get the gas flowing. So the answer seems to be around 3.0. What’s your number? I have no explanation for the government’s 0.5 mL but clearly they got the number from the BGS. Are they that stupid?

      • Colin R Brooks AKA Dung permalink
        December 23, 2021 6:03 pm

        There has abeen a 600 page report by the British Geological Society displayed on the Gov website for over a year, that report tells you everything about our shale gas deposits (world leading) and that There has never been a fracking related quake reaching 4.5. Where waas your report about the damage FROM A LEVEL 3??

  8. Robert Christopher permalink
    December 23, 2021 11:52 am

    It’s Climate Activism at its best!

  9. It doesn't add up... permalink
    December 23, 2021 2:41 pm

    Yesterday the Dutch government decreed that the remaining coal fired power stations must not run above 35% of capacity from 1st January in order that emissions targets are met. One if those is MPP3, which is next door to the HVDC converter station at the Dutch end of the BritNed interconnector. The reduction will also impact their ability to supply Belgium, and in turn the NEMO interconnector. UK baseload electricity for Jan and Feb has been trading way over £500/MWh in consequence.

    How long can they maintain the insanity?

  10. Ben Vorlich permalink
    December 23, 2021 9:27 pm

    Belgium is joining the shut down nuclear party.

    • Graeme No.3 permalink
      December 23, 2021 9:58 pm

      Interesting Ben, but I don’t see the connection. Are you suggesting that red hair makes people anti-nuclear?

      Given that Germany is short of electricity as is France, and that The Netherlands is likely to supply less rather than more, the chances of the UK getting more from Belgium would seem rather unlikely.
      I cannot see why the Dutch government wants to limit its coal-fired generation when all they have to do is buy more Green Certificates from Norway as they have been using to offset much of their current output. If Norway has sold all its stock maybe they could try Iceland?

      • Graeme No.3 permalink
        December 23, 2021 10:01 pm

        Oops. Forgot to give Paul thanks for his efforts this year and to wish him and all readers a Merry Christmas around the oldfashioned log fire.

  11. Ardy permalink
    December 23, 2021 10:39 pm

    Cheer them on and encourage them to close all coal and nuclear plants! Let’s hasten on the madness and get rid of it once and for all. Dangerous cancer calls for a radical operation to get the patient to survive.
    Let the bleating sheep who follow the ‘science’ all feel the issues of lack of heat, light, transport, jobs and cooling. The reality of a lack of engineering to fill the void will hit them like a nuclear bomb and cleanse this stupidity forever and the evolution of the human race can continue as it did prior to the 60’s that spawned this madness from a bunch of hippies we all used to laugh at. We ain’t laughing now!

  12. December 24, 2021 8:33 am

    Germany is now building gas-fired power plants whose sole purpose is to prevent its electricity grid from crashing after nuclear power ends next year (probably).

    Hans-Jürgen Brick, chairman of the Management Board of Amprion, said: “Special grid-related operating equipment is an important building block for the transmission grid of the future.”

    • Graeme No.3 permalink
      December 24, 2021 9:07 am

      With Russia and Norway reluctant to send more gas to Germany, how will they run them?
      Imported wood chips? Perhaps Russia could be persuaded to ship Siberian wood chips to Germany (to replace the reducing supply from Finland, Slovakia etc.).
      Stupid comment I know but such is the stupidity in the EU (and the UK) that it might be taken seriously.
      In the meantime (assuming the plants are set up for dual fuel) they could use ‘heavy oil’ or locally produced biofuels, both of which may bring additional pollution problems. (personal memory over 50 years ago I was a laboratory cog doing work trying to explain the rapid corrosion of the new factory roof after the plant boiler was converted to oil burning with cheaper but higher sulphur content oil).

      • December 24, 2021 9:49 am

        Germany has plenty of forests, and not all wood cutting is legal 😎

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