German Nuclear Exit May Boost Power Prices 30%, BDI Group Says

Germany’s plan to accelerate its exit from nuclear power generation may raise electricity prices by as much as 30 percent, the BDI German industry lobby said.

The permanent halt of eight reactors and the closure of the remaining plants by 2018 could boost wholesale power prices to 70 euros ($102) a megawatt-hour that year, according to a study commissioned by the BDI and published April 24 on its website.

Germany, Europe’s biggest economy and largest energy user, plans to exit nuclear power after explosions at Japanese reactors stoked safety concerns. Higher prices could threaten chemical- and metal producers while utilities lose plants that can be more profitable than fossil-fuel-fired units, RWE AG, the country’s second-largest energy supplier, said last week.

The exit would generate additional costs of 33 billion euros by 2020, of which industrial and commercial energy users will pay 24 billion euros, as utilities employ more expensive power generation and demand for carbon-dioxide emission permits rises, the BDI said. The figure would rise to 51 billion euros if subsidies for developing renewable energy and the German power grid are included, the lobby group said on its website.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said April 15 that she will put plans to boost renewable energy output, build power grids and phase out nuclear electricity to Cabinet in June. She hasn’t specified a date for the exit.

The study assumes that 50 percent of the output shortfall from Germany’s reactors will be plugged in the “short-term” by imports and the remainder by coal- and natural-gas-fired generators. That would raise the energy industry’s CO2 emissions to 282 million metric tons in 2018, 28 percent more than the German government had planned, the BDI said.

The study was conducted by r2b energy consulting GmbH, a Cologne, Germany-based company that provides advice to the energy industry, energy users and political institutions, according to its website.

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