The new plan foresees all of Germany's nuclear plants going offline by 2021 -- with one possible exception: If the transition to renewable energy does not go as quickly as planned, three of the plants will be allowed to continue operating until 2022, as a kind of safety buffer against electricity shortfalls.
The proposals effectively reverse the government's own decision, taken last year, to extend the operating lives of Germany's 17 nuclear power plants -- which was itself a reversal of the decision made by former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder's Social Democratic-Green administration to phase out nuclear power by around 2020.
The leader of the Social Democrats, Sigmar Gabriel, called the plans "dubious." He said he did not know of any nuclear plant that could be operated in a standby mode. "These are ideas that have little to do with the technological reality," he said.
Renate Künast, the co-floor leader of the Green Party, also expressed skepticism, saying it was questionable whether the government was really prepared to make the switch to renewables.
Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche also criticized the plans, telling the mass-circulation newspaper Bild that phasing out nuclear power presented "a number of risks" to Germany as a manufacturing location. German industry has on the whole been skeptical about plans to phase out nuclear power and switch to renewable energy. Executives from major energy companies have also expressed their opposition to a nuclear shutdown.
On Saturday, tens of thousands of people took part in anti-nuclear demonstrations in 20 German cities, demanding a speedy phaseout of atomic energy.
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Quite a few international observers have already for some time been wondering, what on the earth is happening in Germany. After this decision by the Merkel government it is time to stop wondering, and instead ask the question: Are the German decision makers of sound mind these days, or have they all been totally brainwashed and incapacitated by the crazy "green" enviro-fundamentalist movement in their country.
The "Roadmap for the Energy Revolution" is nothing else but a roadmap to energy catastrophy and to total dependence on Russian gas deliveries. The German industrialists know this, but they are too afraid of getting the "anti-green" label in order to speak out loud and clear against this madness. One can only sympathise with people like Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche, who at least dares to point out what kind of problems the "roadmap" will create for Germany.
On the European level, the next step is most likely, that Frau Merkel and and the other leading German politicians - in good partnership with Gazprom and the enviro-fundamentalists - will redouble their lobbying against the only real energy revolution in sight in Europe - the shale gas revolution. On can only hope that the Poles and other sane people in Europe will use all their available resources (e.g. co-operation with the US) to prevent the destruction of this only realistic European energy future.