Germany at risk of energy blackouts

It’s a race against the clock in Germany: if the industry does not invest in new energy infrastructure to ensure security of supply, the country that has taken the lead of anti-nuclear policies might find iself short of energy to pass the next Winter.

The warning has been issued Wednesday, by the country’s energy-network regulator, the Bundesnetzagentur, or Federal Network Agency (FNA). The agency bears the responsibility to drive Germany forward the country’s goal of a planned gradual exit from all nuclear power to the end of 2022—which includes the immediate and permanent closure of eight reactors. A shift in energy policy come after the March nuclear accidents in Japan. Yet, Germany is far from being ready for that. The shutdown of nearly half of Germany’s 17 reactors — with a total generation capacity of around 8.4 gigawatts — could result in large-scale blackouts, it’ the warning coming from the Bundesnetzagentur’s president, Matthias Kurth, and the country’s power-transmission grid operators.

The alert might turn real in the Winter months, when demand is particularly high.

Most at risk is Southern Germany, which had relied heavily on nuclear power and where industrial energy demand is higher than in the north.

How to face the risk? Regulator have identified several thermal-power plants that can be operated as reserve capacity to bridge supply bottlenecks. Also, the Bundesnetzagentur had initially considered keeping an idled nuclear power plant as reserve capacity, but this option has been put aside: they will rely on coal, gas and oil-fired generation capacity. With the environmental consequences we can easily figure out.



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