German electricity prices are likely to increase as the government accelerates the shut-down of nuclear power. Citizens chose financial risks over health risks as they watch the Japanese battle a major nuclear reactor crisis. The irony of the new plan is at least four French nuclear reactors reside along the German border. The disaster risks remain. German citizens may end up buying electricity generated by French nuclear power.
Germany pulled-in the targeted date for nuclear reactor shut-down to 2017 from 2022. Chancellor Angela Merkel calls it, “a measured exit.” Seven of the oldest German nuclear reactors Expressversand Deutschlands are down for safety inspection. To bridge the 23% to 25% nuclear power source of German electricity, the government plans to accelerate wind and solar power while relying on more coal-fired generators and gas power stations.
The chancellery insists the nuclear exit will not increase electricity prices. That promise may go up in smoke:
- Remaining German nuclear cores must be reinforced enough to withstand an airliner crashing into the reactor. The millions of Euros to accomplish this end up on taxes or electrical bills;
- Fueling German solar power growth is a one billion Euro monthly tax incentive for individuals and companies. This Feed-In Tariff is part of the German Renewal Energy Act, the cost shared by all rate payers. If solar power needs acceleration, the tariff will increase;
- Bloombergreports 26 new German coal-fired electrical plants are in-construction or planning. Utilities expect a return for that investment;
- Germany and Russia are developing new natural gas pipelines to feed consumers and gas power stations. INDEX Mundi estimates German natural gas consumption increased 1.63% annually over the last three decades, about the same rate as the country’s GDP. Natural gas pricing is volatile. Germany only generates one-third of its natural gas needs. Russia and other countries control the valve and price.