This amusing story documents how common sense is reviled & suppressed by Germany's Green politicians...
NUCLEONICS WEEK - November 29, 2001
ECONOMY CHIEF SAYS GERMANY CAN'T
PHASE OUT NUCLEAR AND CUT CARBON
A long-awaited government report on German energy
policy, completed by Federal Ministry of Economy (BMWi)
head Werner Mueller and aired in parliament Nov. 26, concluded
based on official data that the two goals of meeting
carbon emissions reduction targets and phasing out Germany's
19 power reactors are contradictory.
The report, delayed by internal wrangling over wording, is
widely seen in industry circles as a direct attack by BMWi
staffers on the policies made by the Green-led Federal Ministry
of Environment & Nuclear Safety (BMU). In the Bundestag,
the lower house of parliament, Green MPs on Monday
reacted to the report by slamming it as "tendentious" and
The Mueller report nonetheless brought to the surface the
collision of views between BMWi and BMU on key energy
policy issues which had been papered over by Chancellor
Gerhard Schroeder, his cabinet, and utility bosses when they
this June signed an umbrella agreement for a nationwide nuclear phaseout.
The report concluded that Germany cannot simultaneously
phase out emissions-free power plants now generating 40%
of its electricity and cut carbon emissions by 40% from 1990
levels by 2020. The latter target was set by a Bundestag commission
of enquiry before the last federal election in 1998.
The cost to the economy of trying to achieve both goals-
dubbed by Mueller a "no regret" strategy-would be about
DM 500-billion (U.S.$227-billion), Mueller said.
The report pointed out that when the Bundestag commission
set the 40% carbon reduction target, it did not assume
that a new Social Democratic (SPD)-Green coalition would be
elected in 1998 and adopt a parallel policy of shutting down
Germany's 20,000 MW of baseload nuclear capacity. During
the 1990s, these reactors saved on average about 100-million
metric tons (MT) of carbon emissions per year. The phase-out
set to get under way over 20 years beginning in 2003 will lead
to increases in carbon emissions of up to 24-million MT/y
through 2010 and up to 74-million MT annually through
2020, BMWi warned. Its conclusions were based on analyses
by consultants at Prognos AG, in Basel, and the University of Cologne.
Assuming that Germany wants to prevent energy imports
from rising during the next 20 years, to meet CO2 reduction
targets, the energy intensity of the German economy must be
reduced by 2.7% per year. Meeting the climate target without
the reactors would require a doubling of gas consumption to a
total of 41% of primary energy consumed; an increase of
currently economically uncompetitive renewables from 3% of
primary energy to 10%; halving of the bituminous coal share
from 24% of primary energy to 11%; and reduction of nuclear
power from current 13% of primary energy to 2% by 2020.
The cost of these policies together by 2020 will be DM 500-
billion, BMWi concluded.
The report also assumed that consumption of oil-mostly
for fuel in automobiles-would remain constant. "No one in
the government making climate policy will touch the auto
lobby, that's a taboo here," said one consultant, a former
BMWi energy policy staffer.
Mueller's conclusions were first tested in public during
presentations given at the Federation of German Industry
(BDI) and SPD's Friedrich Ebert Foundation beginning several
months ago. The report has been ready for nearly three
months, and its release was held up because staffers at Green-led
BMU and the chancellery objected to its conclusions.
"There was a basic question as to whether this would
be a report reflecting the views of Mueller and BMWi or
instead the whole German government, including the Greens
and (BMU minister Juergen) Trittin," one insider said. "In the
end, it became a BMWi report, but Trittin still got a look at
the report in advance and made a lot of red marks on the draft."
After the report was put on the desk of Schroeder chancellery
aide Frank-Walter Steinmeier, one source said, "The
report was toned down so as to not offend the Greens." Mueller
agreed to delete wording which forecast that the nuclear
phase-out will only be implemented to the extent that market
forces will allow. For the Greens and some SPD MPs including
energy policy spokesman Michael Mueller, "That was
simply too provocative," one utility representative said.
Thus far, there has been no official reaction from industry.
But sources said this will be forthcoming. Said one utility
source: "What Mueller said in there wasn't brand new. But it
has to be said that if the government's climate policy is to
decarbonize our economy, it won't happen for free."
He pointed out that, in addition to the cost of decommissioning
and replacing 19 power reactors, BMU's climate
policy can't be realized unless Germany gives up burning
western German bituminous coal and eastern German lignite.
"These are the only competitive domestic-sourced fuels we've
got," the official said. "To assume that, for example, RWE
would invest in any new generating capacity under these
conditions would be naive."-Mark Hibbs, Bonn