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Germany's Greens, buoyant following Berlin’s decision to shutter the country’s nuclear power plants in the wake of the March Fukushima nuclear catastrophe in Japan, are sharply critical of the government’s intention to underwrite the construction of new coal-fired power plants to help produce power when the nuclear power plants go offline.
In reply to Greens Bundestag group Germany’s Economics Ministry wrote in a letter, "highly efficient, flexible fossil fuel power plants that need to be built in the years 2013 to 2016 will be subsidized to the tune of 5 percent of the annual outlay from the Energy and Climate Fund," Der Spiegel reported.
Germany’s Greens see the current situation as a unique opportunity to invest in renewable energy rather than conventional coal-fired power stations, which emit large volumes of greenhouse gases. Oliver Krischer, Bundestag deputy and energy expert said, "Coal-fired power plants are harmful to the climate and much too inflexible to balance the ups and downs in the generation of electricity from renewables."
Far from a blanket shutdown of the country’s nuclear power plants, the German government is mulling keeping one NPP as a possible backup option. Federal Grid Agency chief Matthias Kurth told an energy conference in Berlin, "The figures we have so far seem to suggest that we will need one of those nuclear power plants. The reason is that the much touted conventional cold reserve has not shown to be a viable option."
By. Charles Kennedy, Deputy Editor OilPrice.com
Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com