Nuclear exit without notable effect on German power price in first month

In the month after Germany shut down its last three operating nuclear power plants, the effect on electricity prices in the country has been small, the vice head of the Federal Network Agency (BNetzA), Barbie Kornelia Haller, told public broadcaster BR. “The effects are extremely small,” Haller said. Market prices have not moved upwards at all and, if anything, electricity became cheaper between 15 April and 15 May, as the loss of nuclear power capacity has been outweighed by other effects, in particular the growing share of renewable power sources, she added. Haller said a real assessment would only be possible once one or two full years could be compared. If measured against power production in all of Europe, the effect of Germany’s nuclear exit has been difficult to detect at all, researcher Bruno Burger of Fraunhofer ISE told BR. “The weather has a much greater influence than the three nuclear power plants, and our neighbouring countries also have a much greater influence on the price of electricity,” he said. The three plants produced about 30 terawatt hours of electricity per year, of which one-third could already be saved this year by no longer having to help out France as much in cushioning the impact of its own nuclear plant crisis, Burger said. The remainder could be entirely substituted with additional wind and solar power installations, the researcher argued.

Critics of the phase-out had warned that it would result in price hikes that add more pressure on customers already burdened by the energy crisis. However, renewable power production is often high during spring, while it can fall to very low levels in winter.

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Is this really true? Can “base load” (which includes nuclear) be easily replaced by wind and solar? I thought the whole discussion was that it often can’t.

Why do you think they are concerned about replacing base load generation? They do not have a shortage of base load generation. The additional wind and solar will make up for the loss of nuclear power’s normal non-base load generation.

Are they going to require any base load generation changes to meet their 2030 goals?

They have not shared their plans with me.