Germany Denounces Nuclear Energy, Solar Power Shines

Germany, a country with far less solar resources than sunshine drenched Australia, looks set to continue its reputation of being a solar power stronghold. Germany has decided to end its love affair with nuclear power and “no provision has been made for a way back”.
    
Speaking in Berlin earlier this week, Chancellor Angela Merkel announced the last of Germany’s nuclear power stations will be closed in ten years from now and said a strategy has been developed “that will lead the country toward an independent, reliable, economical and environmentally sound energy supply.”
    
The news came after a series of anti-nuclear protests in the country in the wake of Japan’s Fukushima nuclear disaster; which is now considered on par with the Chernobyl disaster of 1986 and the only other level 7 incident on the International Nuclear Event Scale in history. Last weekend, tens of thousands of Germans took to the streets around the country to again demand an end to nuclear energy. 
    
Chancellor Merkel said nuclear power plants already shut down will not be restarted and only the three newest power plants will be permitted to operate until 2022. The government is firm in its decision, stating “there is no loophole that would allow power stations to operate beyond this cut-off date.”
    
As the nation weans itself off nuclear, renewable energy sourced electricity will rise consistently. The German government has set a target to raise the percentage of renewables in its energy mix from 17 percent today to 35 percent in 2020.
    
Share values in many solar power companies increased sharply Tuesday after the news. Germany’s announcement, alongside Switzerland’s own plans to drop nuclear power and  Japan’s recent unveiling of a goal to make solar power mandatory on all new buildings, will see increased investment in renewable energy research and development, further accelerating solar’s race towards grid parity with fossil fuel generated electricity.