Skip to main content

The Latte Fallacy: German Nuclear Shut Down Proving Expensive

One of the big arguments against nuclear is that it simply costs too much. Well, if the latest reports from Germany are anything to go by, consumers are going to have to pay more without it.

As reported here earlier, Germany has decided to phase out nuclear power and is hoping to shut down all of its plants by 2022. What has been the result? Rising electricity prices.

Since the first nuclear power plant was shut down, the price of electricity on the European Energy Exchange in Leipzig has increased by about 12 percent.

Not only that, Germany has lost  some energy independence too:

Germany has gone from being a net exporter to a net importer of electricity. According to the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSOE) in Brussels, Germany now imports several million kilowatt hours of electricity from abroad every day.

This wasn’t the way things were supposed to go.

"According to our calculations, the cost of a kilowatt hour of electricity will go up by only one cent," says Economics Minister Philipp Rösler, head of Merkel's junior coalition partner, the Free Democrats (FDP). For an average household, this would correspond to the price of only one latte a month, says Environment Minister Norbert Röttgen, of Merkel's Christian Democrats.

One latte a month. Doesn’t sound so bad. Well, the real price increase could be five times as much according to a study by the Rhenish-Westphalian Institute for Economic Research (RWI).

the politicians' estimate of the costs of expanding renewable sources of energy is far too low…RWI experts estimate that the cost of electricity could increase by as much as five times the government's estimate of one cent per kilowatt hour.

Another study by the “semi-governmental” German Energy Agency anticipates an increase of four to five cents, in line with the RWI estimate. Finally, a third estimate from the Economics Ministry sees more than a “latte a month” increase. 

An internal estimate making the rounds at the Economics Ministry also exceeds the official announcements. It concludes that an average three-person household will pay an additional 0.5 to 1.5 cents per kilowatt hour, and up to five cents more in the mid-term [emphasis added]. This would come to an additional cost of €175 ($250) a year. "Not exactly the price of a latte," says Manuel Frondel of the RWI.

It’s just more evidence that when it’s done right, nuclear energy is one of the most cost effective ways of generating electricity

Comments

John Wheeler said…
My first thought was "let them eat cake", but with Germany's increasing reliance on Russian gas, it will not be long before vodka replaces beer as their drink of choice!
Meredith Angwin said…
Luckily, shutting down our local nuclear plant in Vermont is supposed to cost even less than a latte! Just ask our Governor.
You might also be interested in the other side of the story: How much will the $50 billion Fukushima compensation bill add to the cost of 1 kw/h, assuming one such accident every 50 years, and how much will Japan have to pay in extra fossil fuel costs every year if they shut down all nuclear plants.

http://k.lenz.name/LB/?p=3937
Ironically, Germany is really making itself more dependent on nuclear energy: foreign nuclear energy.

Popular posts from this blog

A Design Team Pictures the Future of Nuclear Energy

For more than 100 years, the shape and location of human settlements has been defined in large part by energy and water. Cities grew up near natural resources like hydropower, and near water for agricultural, industrial and household use.

So what would the world look like with a new generation of small nuclear reactors that could provide abundant, clean energy for electricity, water pumping and desalination and industrial processes?

Hard to say with precision, but Third Way, the non-partisan think tank, asked the design team at the Washington, D.C. office of Gensler & Associates, an architecture and interior design firm that specializes in sustainable projects like a complex that houses the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys. The talented designers saw a blooming desert and a cozy arctic village, an old urban mill re-purposed as an energy producer, a data center that integrates solar panels on its sprawling flat roofs, a naval base and a humming transit hub.

In the converted mill, high temperat…

Sneak Peek

There's an invisible force powering and propelling our way of life.
It's all around us. You can't feel it. Smell it. Or taste it.
But it's there all the same. And if you look close enough, you can see all the amazing and wondrous things it does.
It not only powers our cities and towns.
And all the high-tech things we love.
It gives us the power to invent.
To explore.
To discover.
To create advanced technologies.
This invisible force creates jobs out of thin air.
It adds billions to our economy.
It's on even when we're not.
And stays on no matter what Mother Nature throws at it.
This invisible force takes us to the outer reaches of outer space.
And to the very depths of our oceans.
It brings us together. And it makes us better.
And most importantly, it has the power to do all this in our lifetime while barely leaving a trace.
Some people might say it's kind of unbelievable.
They wonder, what is this new power that does all these extraordinary things?

Seeing the Light on Nuclear Energy

If you think that there is plenty of electricity, that the air is clean enough and that nuclear power is a just one among many options for meeting human needs, then you are probably over-focused on the United States or Western Europe. Even then, you’d be wrong.

That’s the idea at the heart of a new book, “Seeing the Light: The Case for Nuclear Power in the 21st Century,” by Scott L. Montgomery, a geoscientist and energy expert, and Thomas Graham Jr., a retired ambassador and arms control expert.


Billions of people live in energy poverty, they write, and even those who don’t, those who live in places where there is always an electric outlet or a light switch handy, we need to unmake the last 200 years of energy history, and move to non-carbon sources. Energy is integral to our lives but the authors cite a World Health Organization estimate that more than 6.5 million people die each year from air pollution.  In addition, they say, the global climate is heading for ruinous instability. E…