Germany has been forced to increase its electricity imports in the first half of the year after shutting down its nuclear power plants in favor of renewable energy sources, according to a report by Bild. From January to June, Germany, the largest economy in the European Union, relied on power supplies from neighboring countries, as stated in the cabinet’s response to a parliamentary inquiry.
The report highlights that Germany’s domestic power generation can no longer meet the country’s demand due to the closure of nuclear plants and the implementation of a green energy policy. As a result, Germany now relies on electricity imports produced at French atomic facilities and from coal plants in the Czech Republic.
Energy expert Andre Tess acknowledged that Germany has transformed from an electricity exporter into an importer, attributing this shift primarily to the decision to abandon nuclear power plants. German industry executives have previously raised concerns about potential electricity shortages that could negatively impact Germany’s competitiveness as an industrial hub.
Markus Krebber, the head of energy firm RWE, warned about the serious problem Germany faces as an industrial location, stating that the country does not have enough energy available to meet its needs. He further expressed concerns about high prices and justified worries about competitiveness, emphasizing that Germany is witnessing the initial signs of de-industrialization.
Germany committed to phasing out nuclear power following the Fukushima catastrophe in Japan in 2011. In April, the country closed its last three nuclear power stations, completely ending its six-decade nuclear program and aiming for fully renewable electricity generation by 2035.
Initially, Germany planned to rely on more Russian gas during the transition period through the Nord Stream pipelines, which were designed to provide affordable fuel from Russia. However, due to the conflict in Ukraine and the resulting sabotage of natural gas pipelines, as well as Western penalties imposed on Moscow, Germany had to seek alternative supplies.
Last year, Berlin started replacing some of its Russian gas imports with liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the United States and the Middle East. Economists caution that it will take years for Germany to fully substitute its Russian energy supplies with other sources.
In conclusion, Germany’s decision to phase out nuclear power plants and transition to renewable energy sources has led to increased electricity imports as the country struggles to meet its domestic demand. Concerns have been raised about potential energy shortages and the impact on Germany’s industrial competitiveness. While alternative supplies are being sought, it will take time for Germany to fully replace its reliance on Russian energy.