Myths and Facts: The German Switch from Nuclear to Renewables - Environment

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Cover of a German language book of children's fairy tales, 1919. Modifications by Anna Milena Jurca. Picture by crackdog under CC BY 2.0 License. Original: Flickr.

March 20, 2012
Craig Morris

As a reaction to the nuclear disaster in Fukushima, Japan, starting on March 11, 2011, German Chancellor Angela Merkel's governing coalition shut down roughly 40 percent of the country's nuclear generating capacity in mid-March 2011 and roughly re-implemented the original nuclear phase-out set forth under Chancellor Schroeder’s Social-Democrat/Green government. This change has been criticized as a panicked overreaction that would hurt the German economy and harm energy security. A year later, however, we can see what the temporary effects have been and what the long-term effects are likely to be.

With its nuclear phase-out, will Germany not have to simply import nuclear power from other countries? Aren't renewables raising the cost of power in Germany, and isn't nuclear cheap? And what about coal– is Germany not going to switch to that? Craig Morris, American writer and translator in the energy sector who has been based in Germany since 1992, answers these and more pressing questions on Germany’s energy transition.

Please click here to read Myths and Facts (8 pages, PDF, 1.59MB)