Not all members seem to be able to follow the letter from the Green party headquarters. “As calmly and concisely as possible,” the Greens should reply to media inquiries about the nuclear issue. At least that is what a letter from the party leadership recommends, which was sent to the subdivisions of the Greens a few days ago and was first reported on by “Welt”. It goes on to say: “We will not let ourselves be driven by sham debates.”
But in fact, given the energy crisis, the question of extended operation or an extension of the lifespan of the remaining three nuclear power plants in Germany has long since ceased to be a sham debate and the Greens are increasingly giving the impression of being driven. The nuclear debate has the potential to become a rift for the Greens. The social pressure is high. According to surveys, approval for continued operation is increasing. The fear of the Greens that high energy costs or industrial outages will be charged to them is also growing.
And so experienced Greens switch to a counter-offensive: “We are dealing with an organized campaign for the re-election of Markus Söder,” said party leftist Jürgen Trittin in “Spiegel”. The former Environment Minister, who initiated the first phase-out of nuclear power, accuses the Union and FDP of closing ranks because they would be annoyed at the high approval ratings from Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock and Economics Minister Robert Habeck. Trittin is annoyed that even his party friend, Bundestag Vice-President Katrin Göring-Eckardt, can imagine a stretching operation: “A family and social politician should know that in every hospital, and in the large Munich clinics anyway, there are emergency power generators for sudden power failures. “
The criticism from Trittin’s state association in Lower Saxony, where state elections are due in October, is particularly clear. “We resolutely reject extensions of the running time or even the purchase of new fuel rods,” says Greens’ top candidate Christian Meyer when asked by the Tagesspiegel and adds that this also includes a stretching operation. No bottlenecks are to be expected in Lower Saxony due to the expansion of renewable energies. The Emsland nuclear power plant in his federal state is even a “grid congestion” that repeatedly leads to the shutdown of wind power, solar and biomass systems. “Stretching does not increase the total amount of electricity, but increases the dangers and risks,” says Meyer.
But that’s exactly what the Green party leadership is keeping open. “We reject an extension of the term, i.e. the procurement of new fuel rods,” says the letter from the party headquarters and is also the red line drawn by Green Party leader Ricarda Lang. A stretched operation should be dependent on the results of the stress test of the electricity market. It is the back door that the Greens – above all Habeck – leave open.
But in Lower Saxony, people are very skeptical shortly before the election: “The stress test does not say whether nuclear power plants are needed, only whether there is a theoretically possible power shortage at a certain point in the winter,” says Meyer.
Even if there is a gap, it doesn’t have to be filled with nuclear power. Capping limits for solar energy should be lifted, and savings could also be made in the gas sector. “In the event of a regional risk, not only the heating of private pools, but also the illumination of castles, neon signs or snow cannons must primarily and temporarily contribute to saving electricity,” says Meyer, deviating significantly from the argumentation aid from Berlin. “Relaxed and concise”, the “sham debate” is no longer being conducted by the Greens.