No Blackouts, Still a Net Electricity Exporter – German Nuclear Phaseout Is Working

Doomsday has been cancelled. When the German government this summer decided to shut down eight nuclear power plants immediately and completely phase out nuclear power by 2022 (actually, they just decided to scrap their previous plans for extending the lifetime of Germany’s nuclear power plans and instead essentially went back to the phaseout schedule set by the previous red-green government ten years ago) the usual suspects were quick to predict that Germany would have to import enormous amounts of electricity and that the stability of the grid could no longer be guaranteed.

Well, so far things seems to working without a hitch. As German daily die tageszeitung reports, this Friday, for example, conditions seemed ripe for a crisis. Siberian cold, high electricity demand, hardly any wind blowing. And still Germany exported the equivalent of 4-5 GW to its neighbour countries, the power plants that have been held back in reserve didn’t need to be touched at all. Solar PV greatly contributed  to stabilising the system, producing the equivalent of 5-6 nuclear power plants.

Meanwhile, nuclear-happy France is in trouble because electrical heating is very widespread in order to produce predictable demand for its nuclear power plants. The result is that demand rises by the equivalent of 2.3 GW for every degree Celsius that temperature drops. France has therefore had to import electricity and utility EdF even called on people to reduce their electricity use. Ils sont fous, ces Français.

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Leave a comment


  1. LM

     /  February 7, 2012

    How about the gCO2/kWh trend? Did Germany replace nuclear with coal?

    • I haven’t seen figures on this yet. But it doesn’t really matter because power plant emissions are capped by the EU emission trading system. So if emissions from German power plants increase, they will need to decrease elsewhere.


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