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Germany Schnitzels Itself After Ditching Nuclear, Coal Power For Green Pipe Dreams

Germany Schnitzels Itself After Ditching Nuclear, Coal Power For Green Pipe Dreams

As Germans continue to ‘enjoy’ the highest power bills in Europe, critics are warning that green energy solutions aren’t being deployed quickly enough amid the closure of its last nuclear reactor, and a sharp (and possibly early) reduction in coal electricity generation – putting the country’s ability to meet peak demand over the next two years in jeopardy.

This, as German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s party slumping to an all-time low in popularity.

“There is no doubt that security of supply must be high on the priority list of the next government and political action is urgent,” said RWE energy’s chief economist, Alexander Nolden. “The new climate law is a real game changer for Germany. It means a much higher ambition and will demand much higher speed for the changes needed.”

Merkel admits her government got it wrong. Power demand will probably increase more than official forecasts by the end of the decade, she said in June. A month earlier she recognized that increasing local opposition and too much bureaucracy have curbed investments in green power.

For a long time, Germany showed the world how renewable energy could be added to make up a substantial share of the power mix. Now, the Norwegian utility Statkraft SF says it takes twice as long to build a wind park in Germany compared with the U.S. Complaints from locals, a lack of space, stricter environmental standards and a longer permitting process are just some of the reasons growth is slowing. -Bloomberg

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