Have you ever been to a dinner party with lots of people when suddenly a mouse runs across the room and someone yells “mouse!” Most people simply ignore the intrusion, while others may ask “where?” But you can always count on someone flying into a fit of hysteria, jumping up on a table screaming and shaking violently until the medics arrive and shoot the person up with a massive dose of tranquilizers before wheeling the sedated patient to the nearest hospital for overnight obsevation. Irrational? Yes.That was pretty much how German politicians and media reacted in the wake of Fukushima. As the rest of the world watched with concern, and had their reactors checked over for good measure, Germany flipped out and plunged into a wave mass panic not seen since Orson Welles’ radio adaptation of War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells on October 30, 1938. After Fukushima, Germany immediately shut down 8 of its older reactors and then rammed through a law ordering the remaining 9 reactors be shut down as soon as possible.
According to Reuters:
Germany’s exit from nuclear power could cost the country as much as 1.7 trillion euros ($2.15 trillion) by 2030, or two thirds of the country’s GDP in 2011, according to Siemens (SIEGn.DE), which built all of Germany’s 17 nuclear plants.”
If that does not bankrupt something, nothing will. Germany wants to switch over to renewable energy. How much will that impact global temperatures? A few hundreths of a degree?
The estimate from Siemens makes some assumptions. Reuters writes:
The estimate of 1.7 trillion euros assumes strong expansion of renewables, with feed-in tariffs as the biggest chunk of costs. The cost would be lower — at about 1.4 billion euros — if gas was one of the major energy alternatives, Suess said.
The estimates given by Siemens factor in feed-in tariffs — costs that utilities have to pay to generators of renewable energy — investments into power transmission and distribution, operations and maintenance as well as technologies to store renewable energy and carbon dioxide.”
Siemens’ estimate is much higher than the 250-300 billion euros estimate given earlier by power plant executives. In the end, the price increase will be paid by the consumer, both private and business. This will hardly make Germany an attractive place to work (which is an activity that requires energy).
So it’s little wonder that businesses are calling it quits in Germany and moving to places that are more business friendly and energy is cheaper.
Don’t take my word for it. According to CO2 Handel here, comnpanies now see Germnany as a risk:
Rising energy and raw material prices are the top risks for Germany as a place to do business. Also 58% of companies fear that power outages. Since switching off 8 nuclear power reactors, power plants are have to switch on and off faster than ever before.”