Friday, 15 July 2011

Kraut angst...

...over nuclear energy seems to be delivering a surprise or two. Germany of course is to phase out its nuclear energy industry in the wake of the Fukushima "meltdown". (A catastrophe that killed no-one, unlike the European mung bean massacre recently where up to 30 deaths were reported...a single organic farm in Germany has recently killed more people than have all the nuclear power plants Germany is rushing to shut down.) To replace electricity generated from nuclear energy it has been assumed that Germany would build 20 million windmills, and cover all its rooftops with solar panels. No way. Believe it or not... Germany is going to burn more coal...The German government wants to encourage the construction of new coal and gas power plants with millions of euros from a fund for promoting clean energy and combating climate change.The plan has come under stiff criticism, but the Ministry of Economics and Technology defended the idea. A spokeswoman said it was necessary as the government switches from nuclear to other renewable energy sources and added that the money would promote the most efficient plants possible. Funding for the initiative is limited to five percent of the energy and climate change fund’s annual expenditure between 2013 and 2016.Annual funding for the new plants could total more than €160 million per year between 2013 and 2014 alone, the Berliner Zeitung newspaper reported on Wednesday.The fund was first established to encourage nuclear plant operators to develop new, renewable forms of energy production. Now that nuclear power is to be phased out by 2022, the fund will pay for research into reducing carbon dioxide emissions from buildings, developing renewable energy sources and storage technologies for them.Opposition politicians and environmental groups said the plan was wrong because it would promote what they argued were climate-damaging plants. They also worried that money earmarked for other valuable projects could be reduced as a result.Oliver Krischer, a member in the Bundestag of the Green party, told the Berliner Zeitung that the country would do better to encourage more investment in energy efficiencyAnd the environmental pressure group Friends of the Earth Germany (BUND) said additional coal-fired plants were entirely unnecessary...read more from Colonel Klink and Private Schultz here...
UPDATE...Germany's energy agency is warning that one of the German reactors mothballed in the wake of Fukushima may have to be restarted to make up for possible power shortages this winter and next. Berlin is also using money earmarked for energy efficiency to subsidize coal-fired power plants...MORE from Der Spiegel online here...
...and simply because it's a treasure, the late Denis Dutton's review of Bjorn Lomborg's "The Skeptical Environmentalist" here...