There are two dangerous fantasies in German energy policy at the end of 2022: Longer nuclear power plant lifetimes beyond April 15, 2023, and the new hope of nuclear fusion.
Both fantasy worlds are mainly nurtured by the FDP and parts of the CDU/CSU parties, which still have not recognized or do not want to recognize the real opportunities of renewable energies. The first fantasy has just been rejected by EnBW CEO Georg Stamatelopoulos, and the second is sheer and expensive dreams of the future.
In the Süddeutsche Zeitung, the CEO of Germany’s third-largest utility and nuclear power plant operator definitively ruled out a longer nuclear power plant life beyond April 15, 2023: “The problem is that there are currently 15 nuclear power plants not in operation in France. There’s a lot missing. It’s unclear when our French colleagues will get to grips with this. Until now, we’ve always exported electricity to France in the winter and imported it in the summer.
This year was different: Electricity exports in summer and increased exports in winter. The situation is explosive because, in addition, if there were a gas shortage, there would be a lack of gas for more power plants.”
The EnBW board member said he was amazed at how the possibility of longer nuclear power plant lifetimes was being discussed in public in this situation. “Nuclear power is simply no longer an option,” the nuclear power plant operator believes. There was a lack of new fuel rods, which could not be obtained in a hurry either.
And, “A nuclear power plant is not a Märklin railroad that you switch on and off and then it always works.” (Süddeutsche Zeitung, 12/15/2022)
The second unreal wishful option of German politicians is the hunt for the alleged magic technology nuclear fusion. Basic researchers from the U.S. recently reported progress in nuclear fusion technology, and Christian Lindner immediately tweeted, “We need more joy in inventing and getting on than in banning and getting off.”
That is correct in principle, but here it is a purely sham debate. The U.S. researchers also see a need for decades of research and major financial problems. So far, far more has been promised in fusion research than could be fulfilled. Because solar and wind energy are already unrivaled in price. EnBW’s CEO also commented in the Süddeutsche Zeitung: “The most important thing is to quickly achieve our expansion targets for renewable energies.”
For climate policy reasons, for technical reasons and for price policy reasons, there is no way around the rapid solar energy turnaround. The solution is in the sky. It is called: solar energy, wind energy, solar hydrogen as a storage medium. The solar transition is technically possible and cost-effective. Because the sun and the wind do not send us a bill.