According to their party leaders, the Greens are strictly against returning to nuclear power. “That will definitely not happen with us,” said co-party leader Ricarda Lang on Sunday in the ZDF summer interview. It is a high-risk technology.
Federal Finance Minister and FDP leader Christian Lindner had previously warned that gas, which was in short supply due to a lack of Russian supplies, should no longer be used for electricity production. Certain nuclear reactors would have to be used until 2024 if necessary.
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Lang said the best thing to do is conserve energy. Gas is hardly ever used to generate electricity and can only be minimally replaced by nuclear power plants. Coal-fired power plants, on the other hand, worked better, which is why they are now being used. “We have a heat problem, not a power problem.” According to current knowledge, there will be no power shortages in autumn and winter. But that will now be checked again.
At the same time, renewable energies would have to be expanded at full speed in the coming years. Lang defended the planned gas surcharge, with which suppliers can pass on part of their extra costs to end customers in the fall. The levy will help to stabilize systemically important companies. At the same time, there must be further relief, especially to support those in need.
“If we now make a gas levy, then further relief must come at the same time – so this year, this autumn, we have to bring relief on the way,” said Lang.
Federal Finance Minister Christian Lindner had previously asked Federal Economics Minister Robert Habeck (Greens) to stop electricity production using gas. “We have to work to ensure that the gas crisis is not accompanied by an electricity crisis,” said the FDP chairman of the “Bild am Sonntag”.
“Therefore, electricity can no longer be produced with gas, as is still happening.” In the direction of the Federal Minister of Economics, Lindner said: “Robert Habeck would have the legal authority to prevent that.”
In this context, the finance minister once again advocated the continued operation of the nuclear power plants in Germany in order to obtain “other electricity capacities”. “There is much to be said for not shutting down the safe and climate-friendly nuclear power plants, but using them until 2024 if necessary.”
Lang said on Sunday in the ZDF summer interview with a view to statements by the finance minister: “What Christian Lindner wants is nothing more than getting back into nuclear power. And that will definitely not happen with us.”
Lang complained about the “lack of seriousness” in the debate. The gas-fired power plants in Germany are only used to a very small extent to generate electricity and could only be replaced by nuclear power to a very small extent. “We have a heat problem, not a power problem,” Lang said.
A spokesman for Economics Minister Habeck (Greens) said on Sunday: “One must not misjudge: A complete renunciation of gas in the electricity sector leads to the electricity crisis and blackouts. There are system-relevant gas power plants that have to be supplied with gas. If they don’t get any gas, serious disruptions occur. Unfortunately, this is the reality of the electricity system, which you have to know in order to ensure security of supply.”
However, where gas can be replaced in power generation, it should be replaced – and work has been going on at full speed for a long time.
A first ordinance already allows hard coal-fired power plants to return to the electricity market from the so-called grid reserve for a limited period of time.
According to the ministry, a gas-saving ordinance for shutting down non-system-relevant gas-fired power plants in electricity generation is also in the works. The lignite reserve is to be activated on October 1st. Lignite-fired power plants that have already been shut down could then start operating again.
Due to fears of a stop to Russian gas deliveries, a possible extension of the service life of the last nuclear power plants still in operation in Germany is currently being discussed.
The president of the employers’ association Gesamtmetall, Stefan Wolf, has spoken out in favor of continued operation and a debate about the construction of new reactors. “I think it’s absolutely necessary for nuclear power plants to run longer,” Wolf told the newspapers of the Funke media group.
An extended service life for the three nuclear power plants that are still in operation could significantly reduce the generation of electricity from gas and help secure the power supply when gas is really no longer available.
“But we also have to have a debate about the construction of new nuclear power plants,” Wolf continued. “There are currently 50 new nuclear power plants being built worldwide, and the technology has advanced. The EU has only just labeled nuclear energy as green energy.”
“So far, all serious tests have shown that nuclear power is the most expensive and most unsafe form of energy, which does not solve the gas problem for Germany in particular,” said the deputy SPD parliamentary group leader in the Bundestag, Matthias Miersch, of the “Rheinische Post” according to the preliminary report on Sunday. “But of course all options should be checked again and again.”
There are currently three nuclear power plants still connected to the grid in Germany: Emsland in Lower Saxony, Isar 2 in Bavaria and Neckarwestheim 2 in Baden-Württemberg. According to the law, however, they should be switched off at the end of 2022. Among other things, they are discussing letting them run a few months longer in a so-called stretching operation.
Union and FDP are campaigning to allow at least limited continued operation beyond the turn of the year. The SPD and the Greens in particular are still skeptical. They also do not want to generally rule out at least temporary continued operation in the event of a crisis.
The chairwoman of the Green Youth, Sarah-Lee Heinrich, told the editorial network Germany: “An extension of the term cannot be made with us. And an extension of the running time is what goes beyond the stretching operation.” It is not necessary and expensive.
“And nuclear energy is a high-risk technology. What we need is the expansion of renewable energies.”