Simon Leufstedt

Where does Germany get their electricity from?

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I've seen this photo being shared plenty lately. It says: 

 
"In America, lobbyists are constantly trying to convince us that alternative energy just isn't a viable option. Meanwhile, in Germany, they have permanently shut down 8 of their 17 nuclear power plants. The rest of them will be shut down by 2022... Where do you think they are getting their electricity from?"
 
Yes, following the nuclear disaster in Fukushima, Germany is indeed in the process of shutting down their nuclear power plants. Unfortunately, Germany still gets the majority of their power from fossil fuel sources. But their share of renewables are increasing.
 
Nuclear proponents are critical of this move and says that Germany now has to import electricity from France Czech Republic, which generate it in nuclear plants. They also blame last year's increase of CO2 emissions in Germany on the closure of the nuclear plants - because less nuclear plants means more coal plants.
 
Every European country import and export electricity to the common European energy market, Germany is no exception. When it comes to Germany, the country actually exported more electricity to neighbouring countries than it imported last year. So despite the closure of several nuclear plants the German energy surplus quadrupled last year. 
 
Blaming the 1,5% increase in CO2 emissions in 2012 on nuclear plants being shut down is a bit dishonest. I mean, coal and other fossil fuel plants just don't magically appear, they take years to plan and build. In fact, 60% of the lost nuclear capacity in Germany was replaced by renewable energy. It's also worth noting that CO2 emissions fell with 2% in 2011 - despite the closure of nuclear plants - and the country remains on track for its 35% emissions cut by 2020.
 
In 2010 the renewable energy sector in Germany directly employed more than 370 000 people. That number has continued to increase in recent years. It has also played a part in helping Germany stay rather unaffected by the recent economic crisis.
 
I'd say Germany did the right thing when they decided to decommission their nuclear plants. What do you think?  ^_^

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