Germany plans nuclear energy exit, guns for wind power

The country’s cabinet recently approved a series of laws to make possible an exit from atomic energy by the end of 2022, including measures for a massive increase of onshore and offshore wind power, the accelerated expansion of the electricity grid, and more gas-fired generation capacity. Despite being behind schedule on plans for wind parks off Germany’s North and Baltic Seacoasts, the government is sticking to an ambitious offshore wind energy target.

“We want to expand wind power at sea in the next 20 years, to a capacity of 25 GW,” Transport and Construction Minister Peter Ramsauer said. “That is equivalent to the generating capacity of 18-20 nuclear power stations.” The cabinet agreed a gradual phase-out from nuclear power, with one of its 17 nuclear power stations each being switched off in 2015, 2017 and 2019, and three each in 2021 and 2022, Environment Minister Norbert Roettgen said.

In yet another development, the country’s recently introduced energy legislation would benefit offshore wind farms over land-based ones under a government proposal aimed at limiting the cost of new sources of renewable energy as it scraps its nuclear power plants.

Offshore wind park owners will see their guaranteed above market rates decrease starting in 2018, three years later than the government had planned, the Environment Ministry said in a draft law published on its website. Onshore turbine operators will see an annual reduction of 1 per cent in feed-in tariffs from 2012.

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