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 February 10, 2012
Clean-Energy-Loving Germany Increasingly Exporting Electricity to Nuclear-Heavy France

 Remember last year when Germany decided to speed up its phasing out of nuclear power and switch to clean energy and everyone (not in the clean energy industry) got freaked out about how German electricity prices would rise and the country would just start importing electricity from France's nuclear power plants?

Well, as I just wrote, it seems pretty clear that solar photovoltaics are bringing down the cost of electricity in Germany. Additionally, electricity imports to France have been increasing!

"Because France has so much nuclear power, the country has an inordinate number of electric heating systems. And because France has not added on enough additional capacity over the past decade, the country's current nuclear plants are starting to have trouble meeting demand, especially when it gets very cold in the winter," Craig Morris of Renewables International writes.
And, with relatively sunny skies above, guess who's coming to the rescue---good old solar power from Germany.

"As a result, power exports from Germany to France reached 4 to 5 gigawatts -- the equivalent of around four nuclear power plants -- last Friday morning according to German journalist Bernward Janzing. It was not exactly a time of low consumption in Germany either at 70 gigawatts around noon on Friday, but Janzing nonetheless reports that the grid operators said everything was under control, and the country's emergency reserves were not being tapped. On the contrary, he reports that a spokesperson for transit grid operator Amprion told him that 'photovoltaics in southern Germany is currently helping us a lot.'"

Hmm, a bit of cognitive dissonance for solar power haters with breakfast this morning.

Power prices in Germany also seem fine, indicating no lack of power. However, due to its challenges, electricity prices in France have been up about 50% and the country has had to ask its citizens to reduce their electricity consumption.
Also, as you can see in the chart above, Germany's electricity from solar has been peaking at about 10 gigawatts lately, or about 40% of its 25 gigawatts of capacity. I have a feeling citizens opposed to Germany's nuclear shut down and clean energy revolution are keeping quiet at the moment.