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ENERGY

Commission sees nuclear exit within decade

Germany's energy ethics commission is to recommend a complete phaseout of nuclear power by 2021. The independent body’s report is due to be submitted to Chancellor Angela Merkel this weekend.

Commission sees nuclear exit within decade
Image Source: DPA

The commission, which was established to report on the future of nuclear power, is holding its final meeting this Saturday in Berlin and could still alter the final report. The draft report, which news agency DPA has seen, states: “The ethics commission is of the firm belief that an exit can be completed within a decade.”

The findings are to be submitted to Chancellor Merkel on Saturday evening or Sunday, ahead of a meeting of the coalition of her conservative Christian Democrats (CDU), their Bavarian allies the Christian Social Union (CSU) and the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP) on Sunday evening. The government will then decide on a final date for the country’s nuclear exit, which has been brought forward in the aftermath of the nuclear accident at Fukushima in Japan.

The report states that the disaster in Japan had “made the risks of nuclear energy much clearer to many people in Germany.”

In March, Merkel reversed a 2010 decision to extend the lifespan of the country’s nuclear power plants. She also ordered the temporary closure of the country’s seven oldest reactors. Her U-turn on nuclear policy followed a string of regional election upsets which have seen support wane for the government parties as voters turned to the Greens, a party that has consistently opposed nuclear energy.

On Friday, Germany’s state environment ministers jointly called for the seven oldest plants to be shut down permanently. The 16 ministers also demanded “the legally earliest possible exit from nuclear energy” while raising the mix of power from renewable energy to 40 percent by at least 2020.

While the government makes its deliberations this weekend, many Germans are taking to the streets to keep up the pressure for a rapid exit from nuclear power. Tens of thousands of anti-nuclear demonstrators are expected to attend marches in 20 cities, with organizers estimating at least 30,000 will attend the rally in Berlin alone.

The Local/DPA/smd

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ENERGY

German households to receive relief for gas costs ‘starting in January’

To help German residents with skyrocketing energy costs, the government is planning to provide relief starting in January, according to draft legislation.

German households to receive relief for gas costs 'starting in January'

Through the gas price cap, the so-called Gaspreisbremse, both German residents and companies will receive retrospective relief for their gas costs starting in January 2023, according to the draft. 

Previously the relief payments were set to stretch between March 2023 and spring 2024, with 25,000 larger businesses, as well as almost 2,000 hospitals and schools to receive the help starting in January. 

READ ALSO: How much could households save under Germany’s new price cap?

The German government is reacting to the sharp rise in energy prices with energy price brakes worth billions and wants to soften the blow on both private households and companies. 

Germany will also be divvying out a one-off energy relief payment in December.

READ ALSO: When will people in Germany get their December gas bill payment?

How much will households and businesses receive?

Under the gas price cap, households and small and medium-sized enterprises are to receive a guaranteed gas gross price of 12 cents per kilowatt hour for 80 percent of their current consumption. For the remaining 20 percent of consumption, the contract price is set to apply.

For district heating, the guaranteed gross price is to be capped at 9.5 cents. 

Starting in January, a gas price brake is also planned for industry. These large consumers are to receive a guaranteed price of 7 cents per kilowatt hour net for 70 percent of their previous consumption volume.

The largest part of the energy price brake is to be financed by a “defence umbrella”, or special reserve, totalling up to €200 billion. The government is still taking on new debt in order to finance the energy caps. 

Russia’s war against Ukraine has increasingly aggravated the situation on the energy markets in Germany and Europe in the course of 2022, the draft states. 

In particular, the recent large price increases for natural gas and heat represent a “considerable, in some cases existence-threatening burden for residents and companies in Germany,” it continued. “They are an enormous socio-political and economic challenge.”

Vocabulary

relief – (die) Entlastung

Natural gas – (das) Erdgas

Consumption – (der) Verbrauch

cushion/soften a blow – abfedern

We’re aiming to help our readers improve their German by translating vocabulary from some of our news stories. Did you find this article useful? Let us know.

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