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March 5, 2012
By: Volker Quaschning

Why Solar Power Spells Doom for Conventional Baseload Power Plants

Nuclear power plant, Grohnde, Germany | Photo credit: AxelHH, Wikipedia

In 2011, Germany has installed more than 7 Gigawatt of photovoltaics, roughly twice as much as the US over the same time. Since these record statistics were announced, representatives of large power corporations and the economic experts of Chancellor Merkel’s center-right coalition have called for an end to this fast growth almost every day. They charge that Germany’s electricity consumers cannot pay the price – and that the policy goes too far. Journalists largely reproduce these opinions without investigating them. As a result, solar energy – once highly praised – has quickly become synonymous with everything that is wrong about Germany's switch to renewable.

Volker Quaschning discusses in this article why already today solar energy is hurting the traditional business model of coal and nuclear power plants. He argues that the traditional utilities lobby is fighting a final battle. They might be able to delay further investments in photovoltaics and other renewable energy. But as costs for solar energy are dropping further, it is too late to stop it altogether. 
Volker Quaschning is spokesperson for the Renewable Energy Department at the University of Applied Sciences in Berlin (HTW Berlin). He is the author of several successful industry books.   

Click here to read The Final Battle in Germany (3 pages, pdf, 464KB)

The original article was published in German.


Source: Heinrich Böll Stiftung, North America

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