Germany’s final three nuclear power plants close their doors on Saturday, marking the end of the country’s nuclear era that has spanned over six decades. The German government decided to gradually shut down all nuclear power plants in the country and increase the share of renewable energy sources in the electricity mix.
The shutdown of nuclear power plants was part of Germany's energy transition policy, known as Energiewende, which aims to move away from nuclear and fossil fuels and towards a more sustainable energy system. The policy includes the expansion of renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power, as well as improvements in energy efficiency and energy storage technologies.
At the Isar 2 complex in Bavaria, technicians will progressively shut down the reactor, severing it from the grid for good. Operators at the other two facilities, in northern Emsland and southwestern Neckarwestheim, will have taken their facilities offline as well. The three final plants provided just six percent of Germany's energy last year, compared with 30.8 percent from all nuclear plants in 1997.
Both supporters and critics of the shutdowns say that renewable energy needs to play more of a role in Germany’s future. More than 40% of Germany's energy comes from renewable sources. Germany has set ambitious goals to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions and become climate-neutral by 2045, and the transition to renewable energy is a key part of achieving those goals.
Germany is a world leader in the use of solar energy, with an installed capacity of over 66.5 gigawatts as of the end of 2022. Solar energy accounts for around 9.3% of Germany's electricity generation. Some projections suggest that solar energy could account for up to 20% of Germany's electricity generation by 2030, as the country seeks to transition away from fossil fuels and towards a more sustainable energy system.
While the transition to renewable energy is not yet complete, Germany is making progress toward its goal of a more sustainable energy system. The country's commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and becoming climate-neutral drives the shift towards renewable energy and a more sustainable future.
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