Archive for May, 2011

German nuclear shutdown

May 1, 2011

The consequences of the shutdown of 7 German nuclear reactors the 17th March 2011 is now officially documented in a report of the BDEW (Bundesverband der Energie- und Wasserwirtschaft e.V.). See also Pierre Gosselin’s comment here.

Imports from atomic France and Czechia increased by 97% and 104%, exports into hydraulic Switzerland decreased by 61%, into the Netherlands by 46%.

If we look at the different energies for producing electricity, the huge swings in wind energy are impressive and show the scale of the problem to integrate such a variable producer into a stable grid:

The green lobby (Greenpeace and al., read also here)  predictably contest this report, and say one should look at the full year balance. There is some truth in that argument; it will be interesting to watch if Germany will be able to integrate sufficiently wind and solar power into her grid, without begging its neighbors either to help bearing the burden of keeping the German grid stable and/or to sell enough electricity to make up for the nuclear generated missing part. The month of May will be particular thrilling, as 5 more (or even possibly all) remaining nuclear facilities will be shutdown for inspection and repair.

TENNET TSO is one of the major electricity transporters in Germany. They published their export/import data for April 2011 to Denmark, Austria, the Netherlands and Czechia (all numbers in MWh, balance is positive when imports > exports). The following figure compares the import/export numbers for April 2010 and April 2011:

In April 2010 the balance was 533 GWh exports, in  April 2011 2704 GWh imports !

Especially telling are the imports of nuclear CZ electricity which increased by 39% !


Here in Luxembourg nearly all officials and green lobbies promote the “naturstrom” (e.g. natural electricity!), which is bought mainly from Greenpeace Energy. The major part (95%) comes from Austrian hydraulic facilities (see pre-report in German here) . Sometime ago I showed in a report that Switzerland imports nearly the same amount of (mostly nuclear) electricity as that of its homegrown hydraulic electricity sold aboard as green electricity: you could call this procedure “electricity laundering”. The same seems to happen in Austria, as shown in this blog:  surely Austria does not produce enough hydraulic electricity for its own usage and that of its neighbors too.  So she does the same as do the Swiss: sell hydraulic at a premium price and import cheaper (and nuclear) electricity for home usage.
Knowing this, can “naturstrom” users still be 100% happy of their green credentials?