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The myth of the dark side of Germany’s Energiewende

The Germany policy of Energiewende plans to phase out the country's dependence on fossil fuels and nuclear energy, but since decommissioning nuclear plants, there has been an upswing of coal usage. Should they have kept nuclear plants and gotten rid of their coal plants instead?

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Wednesday, February 18, 2015
Conrad Kunze and Paul Lehmann
REnew Economy
Development of power generation from coal (lignite and hard coal), nuclear and renewable energy sources (in terrawatt-hours, 2014 data partly estimated)
Development of power generation from coal (lignite and hard coal), nuclear and renewable energy sources (in terrawatt-hours, 2014 data partly estimated)

Critics of renewable energy have mocked the Energiewende, claiming that it has led to an increase in coal power and related CO2 emissions in Germany. But Conrad Kunze and Paul Lehmann of the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ show that this is a myth. German coal generation and CO2 emissions rose not because of but in spite of the Energiewende. They would have been even higher if Germany had not phased out its nuclear power and embarked on its remarkable renewable energy path. “There is no dark side to the Energiewende”. 

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