Only a few weeks in office, Habeck presented his plans for the energy transition in his Easter package. Among other things, he envisages the massive expansion of gas-fired power plants. With an additional capacity of over 40 GW, these should compensate for the shutdown of nuclear power plants and the even earlier phase-out of coal. These additional gas-fired power plants are to be convertible to hydrogen operation in the future. With the Ukraine war, this strategy burst like a soap bubble after only a few months.
NABU demands: Federal government must change course
Even the most loyal advocates of the energy turnaround, such as Sebastian Scholz, Head of Climate and Environmental Policy at the Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union Germany (NABU), now recognise the wrong track. “The German government must correct course and stop the expansion and promotion of gas-fired power plants. This is out of time. We must not create new dependencies,” Scholz told the Berliner Zeitung. At the same time, the traffic light government has even pushed hard for gas to be recognised as a green technology in order to make corresponding subsidies possible.
Other European countries are concerned about German energy policy
Meanwhile, other European countries are also worried about the German electricity supply. The French EU Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton called on the German government to finally leave ideology behind. To this end, he suggests extending the operating time of the remaining nuclear power plants by one to two years. This would help solve the problem due to reduced Russian gas supplies. The French companies TotalEnergies, EDF and Engie even warn of a collapse of social cohesion in Europe. In this way they make it clear that Germany cannot count on French nuclear power in the event of a crisis.
TÜV disagrees with Habeck on nuclear power plant lifetime extension
In the meantime, the TÜV has also contradicted statements from politicians. According to them, existing German nuclear power plants could well continue to generate electricity beyond the closure date that has already been set. The claim that the required fuel elements come from Russia has also been refuted. They could easily be produced in Germany or Sweden. However, the political will to do so is lacking. Both Habeck and Scholz reject an extension with flimsy arguments. None of them can be justified technically. NABU also states: “Nuclear energy is not sustainable, the extraction of uranium is only possible with enormous environmental damage, and the question of final storage is completely unresolved.”
However, environmental damage in third countries, such as in the USA through fracking or in Colombia through coal mining, is quite acceptable. The final storage problem is even more specious, because the nuclear power plants could be operated with fuel rods that are still available. This would not create a single additional problem.
Everyone knows that the energy supply can collapse
Meanwhile, more and more politicians are calling for energy saving. Habeck even makes his own unrealistic suggestions, such as lowering room temperatures or taking shorter showers. Even EU Commissioner Ursula von der Leyen is not above making such calls. Now even owners of solar plants should use less electricity themselves and feed more into the grid. These calls to the population are like whistling in the forest. Everyone knows that the energy supply is on the verge of collapse. However, there is no plan on how to quickly counteract the energy turnaround.
Habeck takes refuge in accelerated expansion of renewable energies
To secure the energy supply, Habeck is now taking refuge in the accelerated expansion of renewable energies. In his plans for the energy turnaround, he wants to build more wind turbines in a short time than there are already in Germany. He does not take into account the fact that neither the necessary areas have been designated for this nor that the corresponding material is available due to the supply bottlenecks. Even if these problems could still be overcome, the expansion in the planned dimension will fail at the latest due to the lack of skilled workers. With the path we are now taking, we are virtually heading for a blackout.