• Germany's news in English
 
app_header_v3
German consumers still hot for nuclear power
Blue skies for nuclear power again? Photo: DPA

German consumers still hot for nuclear power

The Local · 12 Dec 2014, 12:16

Published: 12 Dec 2014 12:16 GMT+01:00

In the first week, Maxenergy poached 3,000 customers from the competition after its new offer launch on December 1 - the day the UN climate change summit opened in Peru. 
 
"Several hundred" applications were being received every day, a company spokesperson told Die Welt newspaper.
 
Generated and imported from two nuclear plants in Switzerland, the electricity isn't markedly cheaper than other options. But it is cleaner and safer, argues the company, which is a subsidiary of the Augsburg-based mineral oil trader Sailer. 
 
Meanwhile, Germany's Association for Environment and Nature (BUND) condemned the offer as "immoral and scandalous", arguing that national energy policy should aim instead to become more efficient to meet demand, rather than generating more.
 
Safe or not?
 
The apparent rush to sign up would seem to fly against Germany's green face, especially after Angela Merkel's government pledge to give up nuclear energy after the 2011 Fukushima disaster in Japan.
 
But despite the legacy of this accident and those at Three Mile Island and Chernobyl, the company insists nuclear power is still the safer option: "There is a big difference between perceived and real threats," the spokesman said. 
 
It also emphasizes the individual savings on emissions nuclear power consumers can make, claiming it reduces their carbon footprint on average by two tonnes of emissions a year to 20 kilos.
 
However, the initial enthusiasm for the nuclear supply doesn't denote a firm trend. Many customers make some savings by switching providers occasionally to benefit from newcomer offers.
 
And nuclear power providers in 2013 still saw their share of the German market fall from 17.6 to 15.4 percent, while coal accounted for 45 percent of German energy.
 
Germany last year burned seven percent more coal than in 2012, increasing its carbon dioxide emissions by two percent, or by 20 million tonnes of emissions.
 
Boost from emissions struggle 
 
All of which complicates ongoing efforts to reduce CO2 emissions worldwide. Germany aims by 2020 to reduce its CO2 emissions by 40 percent compared to 1990 levels, and by 80 percent by 2050.
 
During this week's UN climate change summit in Peru, attended by ministers from 195 countries, environmental organisations criticised Germany for 'losing leadership' regarding climate protection in Europe.
 
According to their survey of 58 countries' progress in reducing their greenhouse gas emissions, the ecological groups Germanwatch and Climate Action Network said Germany has played a less constructive role in the European energy debate in the last year. This year they ranked Germany in 19th place, down from eighth place in 2013.
 
Amid international tensions over Ukraine, nuclear providers can also benefit from anxiety at Germany's heavy reliance on Russia for energy imports.
 
More than a third of Germany's oil and gas come from Russia, as well as one quarter of its coal. A quick restructuring to other sources like liquified natural gas imports from the United States is also not possible due to the infrastructure need. 
 
But the 'clean' nature of nuclear power is also under closer scrutiny after a slew of recent reports about the amount of radioactive waste Germany must dispose of. Estimates were doubled recently, amid reports of dilapidated storage facilities where drums of radioactive waste had corroded so badly they couldn't be moved. 
 
Story continues below…
Meanwhile, Maxenergy's website highlights pro-nuclear statements by established ecologists.
 
"Nuclear energy is without doubt still the most effective and efficient way of reducing use of fossil fuel sources," it quotes Greenpeace co-founder Patrick Moore as saying. 
 
From regarding nuclear energy as an 'evil' synonymous with nuclear war in the 1970s, Moore became an advocate of the power source after he left Greenpeace in 1986.
 
While it tries to balance the shift from nuclear power to other forms and still meet its emissions reductions, the German government is pushing energy saving as one avenue.
 
The Environment Ministry recently raised energy saving issues - and some eyebrows - with a racy energy-saving campaign aimed at young people.
 
 

For more news from Germany, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Analysis
How Merkel reacts to crises better than other leaders
Photo: DPA

It is of critical importance for a country how a leader chooses to react to an act of terrorism. Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cool head sets an example for the rest of the country.

Turkey demands Germany extradite Gülen supporters
Fethullah Gülen. Photo: DPA

Ankara called on Germany on Thursday to extradite supporters of Islamic cleric Fethullah Gülen, whom the Turkish government accuses of plotting a failed coup earlier this month.

German police raid 'hotbed of radicalization'
Police entering one of the residences. Photo: DPA

A mosque and eight residences were searched.

Germany boasts Europe's best value beaches
This beach just got named Europe's cheapest. Do you know where it is? Photo: DPA

Forget Mallorca or the Costa del Sol - the best beach bargains can be found in Germany. But where?

After rampages, Merkel says again: Wir schaffen das
Photo: DPA

Speaking for the first time after a Syrian refugee blew himself up in southern Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel reaffirmed her commitment to helping refugees on Thursday.

The Local List
Germany's five most mind-boggling conspiracy theories
What's the point of this mysterious tower at Tempelhof Airport? Photo: DPA.

Think that wacky paranoid types only exist in the USA? Here’s a few crazy German conspiracies to prove you wrong.

Munich shooting
Gunman's friend arrested for 'planning school attack'
File photo: DPA

Police found chemicals and instructions for making explosives, as well as evacuation plans of his school in the youth's possession.

Bremen mall evacuated due to escaped psychiatric patient
Police outside the mall. Photo: DPA

The man had reportedly made worrying statements relating to Isis and last week's shooting in Munich.

German ambassador to Turkey left out in cold
Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Photo: DPA

The Turkish government has been giving German ambassador Martin Erdmann the cold shoulder for weeks, after German parliamentarians passed a bill recognizing the Armenian genocide.

Ansbach suicide bomber was interviewed by Bulgarian TV
Photo: DPA

A Syrian who blew himself up outside a German music festival at the weekend was interviewed twice by Bulgarian television while living there in 2013, footage showed on Wednesday.

Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
DPA
Gallery
IN PICTURES: How Munich responded to shooting spree
Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
Lifestyle
10 rookie errors all Brits make when they arrive in Germany
National
Bavaria train attack: Were police right to shoot to kill?
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
National
How to get German citizenship (or just stay forever)
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
Technology
Brexit will turn Berlin into 'Europe’s startup capital'
Travel
Six soothing day trips to escape the bustle of Berlin
International
'Germany needs to make UK come to its senses'
Features
Six odd things Germans do in the summer
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Travel
These 10 little-known German towns are a must see
Features
How two gay dads cut through German red tape to start a family
Sponsored Article
Health insurance for expats in Germany: a quick guide
National
Five things to know about guns in Germany
Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
Culture
10 things you need to know before attending a German wedding
National
Eight weird habits you'll pick up living in Germany
Lifestyle
Six reasons 'super-cool' Berlin isn't all it's cracked up to be
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
Society
Only one country likes getting naked on the beach more than Germany
Lifestyle
23 ridiculously fascinating things you never knew about Berlin
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Culture
8 German words that perfectly sum up your 20s
Lifestyle
Can't make it past the door at Berlin's most famous club? Help is at hand
Business & Money
Why Frankfurt could steal London's crown as Europe's finance capital
Features
6 surprising things I learned about Germany while editing The Local
Culture
Five sure-fire ways to impress Germans with your manners
11,008
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd