Germany has vowed to go nuclear free by 2022, which could lead to another increase in Britain’s energy bills. The axing of Germany’s nuclear power plants may affect European markets, subsequently hitting British households in their pockets.
Chancellor Angela Merkel has ordered the closure of Germany’s 17 reactors over the course of the next decade, and in the process has called for greater reliance on renewables. In the wake of the nuclear meltdown at Japan’s Fukushima plant, Merkel has faced mounting anti-nuclear protests and has already shut down seven of Germany’s oldest reactors. Previously in favour of a pro-nuclear policy, her sudden U-turn follows a weekend of anti-nuclear demonstrations across Germany; a country which has a strong Green following.
Until recently, Germany has achieved about 23% of its electricity from nuclear plants, but aims to increase the proportion of power generated by renewable sources from 17% to 50%.
“We want the electricity of the future to be safe, reliable and economically viable,” said Chancellor Merkel.
Germany’s decision to go nuclear free has sparked renewed criticism of Britain’s energy policy, with Greenpeace UK’s executive director John Sauven calling for Britain to scrap its nuclear plans in favour of opting for renewable energy.
“As one of the world’s economic powerhouses, Germany is showing that you don’t need nuclear power to have a strong economy. The country is throwing its weight behind clean, renewable energy,” says Sauven.
“Germany’s renewable energy industry generates more electricity every year than all of the nuclear stations in the UK. Phasing out nuclear power will help unblock the full speed development of renewable energy and energy saving measures right across Europe.”