How Do The Germans Plan To REplace Nuclear-Generated Electricity

Chancellor Merkel has announced the decision to close down all the nuclear power plants in Germany. From what I read, these plants presntly supply about 23% of German demand.
So, what will replace them?
I suspect that the Germans will find that wind and solar are not sufficient.
So, will the Germans wind up importing electricity from France (88% nuclear), or building more coal fired plants?
Or maybe there are other solutions?
What do the industrialist in Germany say about this?

They aren’t shutting down all of the plants overnight. They are shutting a bunch down in the short term, and their coal and other plants can make up the loss of those. In the long term, though, Germany doesn’t have enough generating capacity to replace all of its nuke plants, and so far no one has stepped forward with a plan for generating enough electricity when all of the nuke plants are finally taken offline for good.

Are they doing this in response to what has happened in Japan? If so, it seems a bit of a knee-jerk reaction to me. The confluence of events that shaped what happened in Japan are relatively impossible to occur likewise in Germany.

It’s not entirely a result of the problems in Japan. There have been plans since 2000 to phase out nuclear energy by 2020 (or by 2022; Wikipedia says 2020, but some articles on the web say 2022). A couple of years ago, they extended the date by which the plants would be closed to 2036, but after the incident in Japan, they’ve repealed the extension.

Wrong. Angie declared a moratorium some time back - before the three elections, which is why FDP (smaller coalition partner) guy Brüderle was laughed at when he spilled the beans that this is all just part of election snowjob.

The elections in Sachsen-Anhalt turned out no surprise, but then, nuclear was not a big issue there; the election in Baden-Württemberg, the southern country with lots of nuclear power next door to Bavaria, conservative for 50+ years, was a revolution: they are going to have a Green-Red coalition there, because Green came in stronger than the Red (SPD), and a Green state president. The Greens have become a new major party there. In some areas of the city of Freiburg, they elected their local green MP with 76 %! That’s usually reserved for the consies in the south.

The election in the Rhineland was no big change, it will continue red, just with a red-green coalition instead of red majority.

What Angie did turn off were the 7 oldest plants, which are very old, have not been updated to current safety standards, have had a lot of “incidences” (with reporting scandals by the owners, as usual) and which could be shut off permanently right now without any trouble to power supply, and following public wish.

I don’t have the numbers, but I guess you heard biased numbers. When Red-Green laboured for the compromise of getting the plants shut off in decreasing order*, they planned for a certain rising amount of renewable energy to take over; as one Green recently said with a smirk “we apologize for using the wrong numbers back then, we calculated with 10% renewable energy in 2011. We apologize that we don’t have 10% - we have 17% today!”

And yes, wind power plants are shut off because the nuclear plants are producing too much power.

If there’s a will, we could shut off all nuclear plants today and buy the rest of the green power from other countries - power is being traded all over Europe already anyway. (That’s also how Austria, who banned nuclear power several years back, gets by).

  • important because they wanted to make it legally unaissalable, therefore not a law, but a compromise. Which Angie promptly declared the exit from the exit and extended the running time, without demanding the requisite security updates! The companies are making money hand over fist and rofl for being so dumb. Now that Angie signed the extension into law**, the companies have a leg to stand on and RWE started to sue the shut-down.

** She passed it only through the Bundestag, the first chamber, not the state council Bundesrat. The Green party and several other groups and people have accused the law of being unconstitutional in front of the Constitutional court; one of their arguments is that something this big needs to pass the second chamber, too.

There are still coal plants, that do the bulk of the base load. Wind and solar, plus existing hydro, plus reduced energy usage, could go a long way. Plus research into other techniques - the biggest problem with solar is storage, and that is being worked on.

That’s why the exit compromise had a staggered shut-off date: first the oldest, most unsafe plants, would be shut off, and their load taken by wind and solar; in 10 and 15 years, a few more plants would shut off, and their load taken by other technologies developed in the meantime.

On small-scale, there’s biomass and geothermal, or the VW-people’s power plant (10 000 households get a diesel engine in their basement: solid, easy to build, check and repair; when it runs, it produces both heat for the house and electricity; it’s connected over the net to one giant virtual power plant, but requires less space and investment cost. When power is needed, the engines are turned on remotly; when power is not needed, they are turned off again; when power or heat is needed in the house locally, it’s turned on manually.)

There is no one-size-fits-all solution; but then, there doesn’t have to be, because nuclear doesn’t provide 100% of the energy, either, we already have a mix.

Unlikely. Coal is expensive and dirty. And importing nuclear power would be hypocritical.

Also, the EU has agreed to check all European nuclear power plants to a safety standard (bad: it’s only virtual; and they haven’t specified the standard yet. Also, nobody has clarified what happens with those plants that fail the test.) Still, it’s a first small step, partly because of the determination of Trittin. So maybe, if things go well, the EU will actually decide that safety of people is more important than profit, and order at least those 40+ year old plants with crumbling concrete, leaks every month, and not able to withstand a Piper plane falling onto them, shut down permanently.

About every weekend, people are marching in several cities to turn atomic power off. One way people can vote outside elections is by changing from one of the four major oligopolists who run the nuclear plants to one of the four genuine green companies. These build new renewable plants and purchase green power produced in other European countries. If everybody voted with their purse, the companies would understand the signal.
Sadly, the prices of the genuine green companies are more expensive than the oligopolies, so not everybody can afford this. Still, it could be a slide more impressive than even the last March weekend election in Baden-Württemberg.

Well, like I said, RWE is already going to court. But who cares what companies think who don’t give a shit about our safety and make heaps of money without lifting a finger?

Japan aside, is this due to the age of their current power plants and the ever present issue of waste disposal? Do other nuclear countries in the EU have similar plans?

That’s interesting. Do you have links to any English-language articles on the Web about this system?

Never mind.

Much better posts than mine appeared since I loaded the thread.

Yes. Because Japan is the third major nuclear catastrophe, and the usual excuses of blaming human error and the Soviets don’t count. Japan, a highly industrialized nation, highly skilled and educated workers, yet experts are standing around baffled and helpless and have no idea what’s going on or how to stop it.

So the population is marching in the streets demanding to shut the things off, dammitt, and the consies are falling over themselves after they got a kick in the arse from the Greens weekend before last.

And while Germany doesn’t have earthquakes that high, several nuclear power plants are on the Rhine valley, which is an earthquake place, and are not safe; one old plant (Isar II) is close to a major airport (Munich) but can’t withstand even a small Piper or Mosquito plane falling onto it; and we have the same attitude of the owner companies to skate over reports, falsify reports, bribe politicans to hide the extent of the problems … so while things couldn’t explode the same way as in Japan, they can explode any other combination.

Here’s the english presentation from the Lichtblick company (one of the four genuine green ones) advertising the system. They have sold less than they hoped for.

Yes, the seven oldest have multiple problems each year, and are a huge safety problem.

And nuclear waste is the other big reason serious, neutral physicists (like Ranga Yogeshwar) are against nuclear power. There is still no permanent deposit anywhere in the world; the trial place, Asse, turned out a huge disaster (it was a salt mine, into which they dumped steel drums, as you can guess, they rusted, and the radioactive stuff seeped into the ground water, causing health problems for people nearby. The govt. sat on the reports for a good decade without doing anything. Serious geologists have complained that the search for the permanent deposit site has been done only according to political concerns: where do the consies have a safe majority to push this through?, and neutral reports have been repeadtly altered to get away from unpleasant conclusions.

This is wrong. The original Red-Green compromise had exactly that, a strategy plan to replace each plant with equivalent renewable energy and strategies to save energy. (For example, stopping the reduced rates that big-users like industries get, which is an incentive to waste power, because the more you use, the less you pay, would go a long way to make people interested in saving power to save money).