The climate-policy goals of the German government are no longer attainable after the decision last month to phase out nuclear power plants, according to Prof. Hans-Werner Sinn, president of the Ifo Institute for Economic research at the University of Munich.
We wrote last week that fresh from a victory in forcing the German government to abandon its nuclear policy, NIMBYs (people afflicted with the Not In My Back Yard syndrome) are bracing to battle against the massive new power lines and wind turbines that are being built across the country as part of the green energy program.
Dealing with objections to the inconveniences of green energy is one big challenge and according to Prof. Sinn electrical power from the sun and wind can indeed replace the electricity that comes from nuclear power plants in Germany - - on paper at least - - since atomic energy only provides 4.6% of Germany’s final electricity supply, whereas electricity from wind and solar power amounts to 1.8%. He says the phase-out option is indeed in the realm of possibility, if one disregards the irregularity of the supply but the original hope that nuclear power would displace fossil fuels in order to curb global warming cannot be fulfilled with wind and solar power. Energy from fossil sources accounts for 84.7% of German final energy consumption.
Prof. Sinn says
replacing nuclear electricity will be hard enough; replacing the electricity
generated by fossil fuels on top of that is well nigh impossible. If the
electricity supply in Germany, which amounts to 20.3% of final energy
consumption, were to come from wind power, using present technology, a surface
area the size of North-Rhine Westphalia would be needed, with turbines packed as
closely together as technically feasible.
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