Germany has made a decision to eventually shut all of its nuclear power plants. This is expected to happen around the year 2020. Germany currently gets about 23% of their power from nuclear plants. This is the same level as the United States.
To make up for the lost nuclear power and generate more power needed to grow their economy, Germany will look to expanding the use of renewable energy. They are looking to increase the production of electricity from wind power systems off their coast and to use increased amounts of solar energy.
This change will increase the cost of electric power to German consumers. Germany already has a fairly high rate for electric power; 30.66 cents per kilowatt hour compared to 9.26 cents in the United States.
The following chart from Wikipedia shows electric pricing for many countries around the world:
Global electricity price comparison
CLP announces new tariff
Dec 2007Dec 2007
April 2010April 2010
Jul 2010 to Sep 2010Jul 2010
Kingdom of Tonga
Germany plans for electric power will be very interesting to watch. They are implementing a renewable energy plan advocated by many people who see renewable energy as the only viable source for electricity. The problem is cost and competitiveness. Countries like China, India, France and others are proceeding with nuclear power.
The United States does not have a strong commitment to nuclear power. We could implement a program similar to Germany’s which will require a huge investment in both renewable generating capacity and building massive grids to transmit the power to consumers. This type of plan will significantly raise the cost of electricity to American consumers.
Using coal for electric power generation is one of the reasons our electric costs are so low. We get 50% of our electric power from coal. The Obama administration is looking at shutting down a lot of our coal electric production by requiring old plants to clean up their emissions of pollutants like sulphuric acid, nitric oxides, mercury, and other toxic emissions. The laws to do this have been on the books for many years. He does not have to count carbon dioxide as a pollutant to shut down these plants. Many of the old plants will be closed as opposed to expensive retrofitting.
Closing these plants is going to require new sources of electric power. My best guess for this country is that nuclear power is put on hold for another generation. We also are not going to build the expensive infrastructure to transmit power from wind generators or subsidize huge amounts of new solar energy projects. The path of least resistance is to burn more natural gas.