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The so-called Energiewende, the shift away from nuclear in favor of renewables, the greatest political project undertaken here since Germany’s reunification, is facing failure.
The vision of the fantastic new world of the future was born eight years ago, on March 11, 2011, the day an earthquake-triggered tsunami damaged the nuclear power plant in Fukushima, Japan. The disaster led Chancellor Angela Merkel and her cabinet to resolve to phase out nuclear power in Germany. It was an historic event and an historic decision.
Idea - Details - Reality - Energiewende - Shift
But the sweeping idea has become bogged down in the details of German reality. The so-called Energiewende, the shift away from nuclear in favor of renewables, the greatest political project undertaken here since Germany’s reunification, is facing failure. In the eight years since Fukushima, none of Germany’s leaders in Berlin have fully thrown themselves into the project, not least the chancellor. Lawmakers have introduced laws, decrees and guidelines, but there is nobody to coordinate the Energiewende, much less speed it up. And all of them are terrified of resistancefrom the voters, whenever a wind turbine needs to be erected or a new high-voltage transmission line needs to be laid out.
Analysts from McKinsey have been following the Energiewende since 2012, and their latest report is damning. Germany, it says, “is far from meeting the targets it set for itself.”
Germany - Federal - Court - Auditors - Failures
Germany’s Federal Court of Auditors is even more forthright about the failures. The shift to renewables, the federal auditors say, has cost at least 160 billion euros in the last five years. Meanwhile, the expenditures “are in extreme disproportion to the results,” Federal Court of Auditors President Kay Scheller said last fall, although his assessment went largely unheard in the political arena. Scheller is even concerned that voters could soon lose all faith in the government because of this massive failure.
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