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Sun Feb 10, 2013, 01:10 PM

Germany's nuclear phaseout translates to a global warming disaster - with American help

Can we wipe the lipstick off the Energiewende pig yet?



JAENSCHWALDE, Germany — Green-friendly Europe has a dirty secret: It is burning a lot more coal.

Europe’s use of the fossil fuel spiked last year after a long decline, powered by a surge of cheap U.S. coal on global markets and by the unintended consequences of ambitious climate policies that capped emissions and reduced reliance on nuclear energy.

The new dependence on one of the dirtiest fuels shows just how challenging it is to maintain the momentum needed to go green, analysts and officials say, and demonstrates the far-reaching effects of America’s natural gas boom.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe-consuming-more-coal/2013/02/07/ec21026a-6bfe-11e2-bd36-c0fe61a205f6_story.html?hpid=z2

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Reply Germany's nuclear phaseout translates to a global warming disaster - with American help (Original post)
wtmusic Feb 2013 OP
kristopher Feb 2013 #1
FBaggins Feb 2013 #2
quadrature Feb 2013 #3
wtmusic Feb 2013 #4

Response to wtmusic (Original post)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 02:20 PM

1. That has little to do with the nuclear phase out

But we long ago stopped expecting you to let facts get in the way of your blind loyalty to nuclear power.

We don't need nuclear power to meet climate goals and keep the lights on
It would be a folly to think that there is no hope of tackling climate change without nuclear power

Making the case for new nuclear this week, George Monbiot admitted that, what with the proposed nuclear waste dump in Cumbria being rejected and Centrica pulling out of new nuclear in the UK, the facts are not exactly working in his favour. But his argument raised two crucial questions.

First, what is actually happening as a result of Germany's nuclear phase-out? Is Angela Merkel now barrelling down a catastrophic, high-carbon coal path, or is the reality more complex?

It's true that there has been a spike in coal burning, but this is largely because the EU carbon price has collapsed and gas prices have risen – meaning that burning coal and lignite is cheaper than burning gas. Right now, Germany's renewable energy boom is displacing gas, rather than coal.

Moreover, since the country's decision to phase out nuclear, no new coal plants have been proposed and some have even been cancelled. So it is a massive oversimplification to state that Germany's decision to go nuclear free means more reliance on coal – either now or in the future.

The German government has made clear that it remains committed to its carbon reduction and renewable energy targets ....
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/blog/2013/feb/08/nuclear-power-climate-change



If the shift to renewable is causal in Germany, as you assert, then what explains this:

FRIDAY, 4 JANUARY 2013
British increase in coal generation is much bigger than Germany's
http://realfeed-intariffs.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/british-increase-in-coal-generation.html


See also the "status" column for these proposed coal plants in Germany
http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Coal_power_plant_proposals_in_Germany

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Response to kristopher (Reply #1)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 03:50 PM

2. Oh yeah... it's obviously just a coincidence.



If the shift to renewable is causal in Germany, as you assert, then what explains this:

Really? There's only one thing that impacts how much coal a nation burns?

Coal usage in the U.S. power sector is down substantially... but it isn't primarily because of nuclear or renewables - it's because of uber-low gas prices. But while natural gas isn't particularly exportable, coal is... and the lowered demand for coal here in the US caused producers to sell more of it overseas. This extra supply has caused prices to fall (roughly half of what they were at the peak five years ago) at the same time that gas prices were climbing - and thus shifted demand from gas to coal.

Some of this explains Germany as well, but it really isn't the same thing. The UK's shift comes from shifting excess capacity into production and shifting more expensive generation into unused capacity. Germany would shift from more expensive to cheaper production as well... if they hadn't already shifted all of their backup/retired available coal generation into production to replace shuttered nuclear.

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Response to wtmusic (Original post)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 04:12 PM

3. has the shutdown really started yet?

the last time I looked,
a handful of old, small 100MWe plants were turned off,
and the big 1000MWe
plants were still chugin along.

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Response to quadrature (Reply #3)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 04:21 PM

4. About 25% has been taken offline

with the rest scheduled to be shut down by 2022.

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