Posts Tagged ‘Germany’

November 1, 2011 | 2:31 pm

TNR: “How Not to Go Green”

As we have noted before, we think there are important lessons to be learned from Germany’s efforts to phase out nuclear power. In the end, less nuclear seems to irrevocably lead to simply this: burning more fossil fuel, generating more carbon emissions and less energy independence.

The latest writer to notice this posted an article at The New Republic, “How Germany Phased Out Nuclear Power, Only to be Mugged By Reality.

“Yet in bowing to the country’s strong anti-nuclear movement, Germany appears to have suddenly gone off track: Within the last year the country has gone from a net exporter of energy to a net importer, and the carbon intensity of the energy it purchases has risen as well. Now, with its energy politics in turmoil, Germany is serving as a very different sort of model for environmentalists: how not to go green.”

read more…

July 22, 2011 | 2:03 pm

Spotlight: Germany’s nuclear exit will mean burning more fossil fuels

by Jarrett Adams

As Germany begins its trek toward shutting down its nuclear plants by 2022, it has to answer several questions about what effect this will have on the nation’s energy and environmental outlook. Some opponents to nuclear energy have stated that Germany’s plants, which until recently produced 24 percent of its electricity, will be picked up by expanding renewables. But, at least in the short term, much of this shortfall will be met by building new fossil fuel-fired plants.

In a recent piece, Guardian columnist George Monbiot wrote:

Germany’s promise to ditch nuclear power will produce an extra 40 million tonnes of carbon dioxide a year. In June Angela Merkel announced a possible doubling of the capacity of the coal and gas plants Germany will build in the next 10 years. Already Germany has been burning brown coal, one of the most polluting fuels on earth, to make up the shortfall.

In fact, the German chancellor has called for construction of 20 new fossil plants to replace the 17 nuclear plants until additional renewable capacity is available. According to Der Spiegel, a portion of funds originally directed for investment in renewables “has now been earmarked to subsidize the construction of new coal-fired power plants.”

Part of Germany’s solution will be to replace the electricity supplied by nuclear energy with renewable generation. We applaud the intent to build more renewable generation – AREVA has built six offshore wind turbines off the German coast and, with a production facility in Bremerhaven, working to developing many more. As these renewable sources cannot supply all of the power yet, the German energy demand will have to be supplemented through coal and natural gas. This increased dependence, mostly imported from Russia, has other drawbacks besides producing more greenhouse gas emissions.

Some recent articles have highlighted how Russian industry is positioning to help Germany with its transition away from nuclear energy, including the Voice of Russia. Last week an article plainly titled “Germany to renounce nuclear energy, Gazprom is ready to help,” detailed the new partnership between Gazprom and German utility RWE to build coal and gas fired plants in the country.

Blogger Rod Adams has written an interesting post on the Energy Collective examining Russia’s stake in the German nuclear phaseout.

Other analyses have pointed out that even if Germany meets its objective to phase out nuclear energy, it will not meet the supply the nuclear plants had provided with renewables. According to an insightful post from the Breakthrough Institute:

To fully replace nuclear power with renewable energy, the country would have to scale renewable energy to provide over 42.4% of the country’s projected 2020 electricity demand, a substantial increase from the 17% of electricity demand renewable energy provided in 2010, and far greater than the country’s goal of 35% of electricity demand in 2020. In terms of non-hydro renewables, that’s an increase of 2.6 times today’s levels.

The German people have the right to choose their energy sources, including deciding against nuclear energy. But this is not necessarily the trend. Many other countries understand the constant, low-carbon energy generated by nuclear plants and are moving forward aggressively with new nuclear plants, including China, which now has some 25 plants under construction, and India and the United Kingdom.

June 2, 2011 | 1:52 pm

Theory versus Practice (Part II)

A number of voices have joined the chorus describing the same issue we’d blogged about this week: that Germany’s draw down on nuclear power illustrates how the “theory” that less nuclear could be offset by renewables does not meet with actual reality.

Most recently from the Washington Post editorial board yesterday:

“Instead of providing a model for greening a post-industrial economy, Germany’s overreaching greens are showing the rest of the world just how difficult it is to contemplate big cuts in carbon emissions without keeping nuclear power on the table. Panicked overreaction isn’t the right response to the partial meltdowns in Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex. Instead, countries aiming to provide their citizens with reliable, low-carbon electricity should ask how to minimize inevitable, if small, risks — making their nuclear facilities safer, more reliable and more efficient.”

And the blog for the environmental research group Greenbang describes Germany’s current choice (versus for instance the UK) illustrates starkly what is at stake:

So which is the more likely trend among countries that want to ensure energy security while also reducing carbon emissions: a Monbiot about-face or a Merkel move? …“(N)uclear has been acknowledged as a UK-controlled source of power which will reduce our reliance on others and help secure our supply,” says Tara McGeehan, utilities director at Logica UK. She called Germany’s decision one “based upon political motives, tied to the ongoing support for the ‘not in my backyard’ movement.”

And then they list their 5 reasons “it’s nuts to dump nukes.” Two good articles, go check them both out.

December 23, 2010 | 7:49 pm

AREVA Wins Offshore Wind Contract in Germany

By Jarret Adams

AREVA announced a contract today worth approximate $525 million with Trianel, an group of German electric utilities, to supply 40 five megawatt (MW) M5000 turbines for the Borkum West II offshore wind farm located in the North Sea.

Situated about 28 miles off the northern coast of the island of Borkum, Borkum West II is the biggest wind-energy project in the German North Sea. It is directly adjacent to Alpha Ventus, Germany’s pilot offshore wind farm where AREVA supplied six wind turbines.
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December 16, 2009 | 8:41 pm

AREVA Offshore Wind Turbines Triumph in Germany

By Katherine Berezowskyj

AREVA Multibrid M5000 offshore wind turbines

AREVA Multibrid M5000 offshore wind turbines

Not too far from Copenhagen, AREVA is making sure that some progress in reducing CO2 emissions is a reality. AREVA, through its German subsidiary Multibrid, has installed and commissioned six of its specially designed offshore M5000 turbines.

Located in the North Sea, these AREVA turbines are part of the Alpha Ventus project, the first German offshore wind park nearly 28 miles from the Island of Borkum. This is a major achievement for renewable energy because of the technical merit and large energy output these wind turbines have successfully demonstrated.

These five megawatt M5000 turbines are specially designed for the harsh marine climate and are able to capitalize on these excellent wind conditions. Already the six Alpha Ventus turbines have generated almost 30 million kWh, including nearly 10 million kWh with 99% percent availability in the last two weeks of November.

AREVA is very proud and excited about these technical achievements and what the M5000 contributes to the offshore wind industry.

For more information, check out the press release and the AREVA Multibrid Site.

May 11, 2009 | 2:13 pm

AREVA Has Many Satisfied MOX Fuel Customers

Worker at MELOX Facility

Worker at MELOX Facility

by Jarret Adams

Today, some 35 reactors around the world are using mixed-oxide fuel produced by AREVA, and fuel for more is under development. Our customers are found throughout Western Europe and Japan. Some German nuclear power plants have been using MOX fuel successfully in their reactors for 35 years.

MOX has many benefits, but among the most important are that it allows utilities to use recycled nuclear fuel and reduces the amount of material that must be disposed in a final repository. In fact, the use of recycling together with MOX fuel allow for countries to reduce the volume of material for disposal in a repository by a factor of five.

For some utilities, MOX fuel is more than just a good way to manage used fuel. MOX fuel can also help customers hedge against volatility in the uranium market. Because most MOX fuel comes from recycled fuel, no fresh uranium and enrichment are needed.

AREVA announced last month a new agreement with Japan’s Ohma nuclear power plant. This follows on agreements signed between AREVA and several Japanese utilities to supply MOX fuel for 16 to 18 reactors in the country beginning in 2010.

In the United States, AREVA is partnering with the Shaw Group construct the MOX Fuel Fabrication Facility in South Carolina. This facility will convert former weapons-grade material into MOX fuel for U.S. electric utilities. Construction began in August 2007 and the facility is now approximately 17 percent complete.

Country Utility Reactors
France EDF 20
Germany E.ON
Belgium Electrabel 2
Switzerland NOK
Japan Chubu
In Development
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