When Germany began phasing out nuclear power in 2000, some worried that it would create energy shortages within the country. But according to a new report released by the Federation of Energy and Water Industries, these fears were unfounded – Germany continues to export more power than ever before. In fact, despite the nuclear phase out, 2012 stands to be Germany’s biggest energy export year ever.
During the first three quarters of 2012, Germany sent 12.3 terawatt hours of electricity its border. By the same time last year, Germany had exported 8.8 terawatt hours. The increase is attributed to Germany’s investment in green energy, which includes wind and solar power. German power is so affordable for neighboring countries that the Netherlands has actually shut down their own gas-powered plants to rely on importing energy.
There is some question about whether or not Germany will be able to maintain this relationship during the winter. During winter months when the sun isn’t shining every day and the wind dies down, Germany relies on cold reserves, including, if necessary, power plants in Austria. Overall, however, it shows that it’s possible for entire nations to move away from nuclear power and into the future.