Energiewende (Work in progress)

Posted on: February 6th, 2013 by Antonio Pilello

Some preliminary ideas for a post about the Energiewende.

  • By choosing to phase out the nuclear power, Germany got the difficult direction of the energy conversion efficiency. In fact, after the Fukushima accident, one of the most debated issues in recent months was the Energiewende, the transition to sustainable economies by means of renewable energy, sustainable development and energy efficiency. The government set some very ambitious objectives in terms of changes in the national energy mix: shut down nuclear power generation by 2022 and get 80% of power from renewable sources by 2050.
  • In 2020, the share of renewable energy in the total production will reach 35% of the total. Without nuclear power, coal and gas will play an increasingly important role to ensure a constant supply of energy to citizens and plants. In particular, the coal (lignite or fossil), which covers about 45% of German energy production, is returning essential, although coal plants are two times more polluting than gas-fired plants and contribute to about 40% of the CO2 production in Germany.
  • In 2012, the energy consumption from lignite increased to record levels. The reason is the launch of two new modern plants by the energy company RWE in North Rhine-Westphalia. Eight more plants are included in the plan drawn up by the government in 2011 after the decision to confirm the phase-out of nuclear power. The federal government plans to spend about €165 million per year until 2016 to achieve these objectives.
  • In November 2012, the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin), published a study about the future of lignite plants, denouncing the high costs and inefficiency. However, the researchers of the Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy, calculated that Germany will continue to use lignite after 2050.

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