Germany’s Dangerously Flawed Energy Policies
Germany has made a noble effort to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions and replace conventional energy sources with wind and solar power. But now it is time to face reality: the country cannot possibly play a role in combating climate change until it first reverses its decision to phase out nuclear power.
MUNICH – French President Emmanuel Macron thinks an overhaul of Germany’s economic model is overdue. As far as energy is concerned, he is probably right.
While France produces over 70% of its electricity in nuclear power plants and is trying to convert to electric vehicles (EV) running on nuclear energy, Germany relies on wind farms and other forms of green energy, and plans to phase out nuclear power by 2022, and coal power by 2038. Yet the attempt to turn the wheels of German industry with wind faces growing political resistance, as the country is already littered with so many wind turbines – some of them nearly 250 meters (820 feet) high – that even its most beautiful vistas are coming to resemble industrial landscapes.
Farmers and forest owners, of course, have welcomed the opportunity to convert their land to industrial sites. Usually, only landowners on the outskirts of big cities enjoy such windfalls, but with legislation facilitating the erection of wind turbines in rural areas, German farmers and forest owners have struck gold.
We hope you're enjoying Project Syndicate.
To continue reading, subscribe now.
Get unlimited access to PS premium content, including in-depth commentaries, book reviews, exclusive interviews, On Point, the Big Picture, the PS Archive, and our annual year-ahead magazine.
Already have an account or want to create one to read two commentaries for free? Log in