Energy: Nuclear no longer in vogue in Central Europe
2 August 2012
“Green power stations overtake coal and nuclear,” announces Hospodářské Noviny. The Czech business daily explains that the rapid growth of renewable energy production in Germany has radically modified the energy sector in Central Europe.
In the wake of the Fukushima disaster, the dangers associated with nuclear power as well as its cost and the difficulty in processing nuclear waste have persuaded Angela Merkel’s Germany to change its energy strategy. Today 20% of the country’s energy is sourced from renewables and that figure is set to increase.
As a result, Hospodářské Noviny notes that –
… in Central Europe, the increase in German renewable energy production has begun to take market share from fossil fuels and nuclear, while cutting the profits and reducing the stock market value of energy companies.
The Czech government, which has been notably affected by this change, has decided to shelve a policy of encouraging Green energies (solar, wind, biomass), and, according to Hospodářské Noviny, to suspend all clean energy incentives by 2014. At the same time, however, the strategy adopted by national power company ČEZ, which plans to build two more reactors at the Temelín nuclear power plant – a move that will make nuclear ultimately responsible for 55% of the country’s power needs – has increasingly been criticised by analysts.
Other European energy sector giants, most notably German firms, have been affected by the falling profits of traditional power companies, points out the newspaper –
In 2008, E.ON shares were worth 51 euros: today the price has fallen to €17. At the same time, RWE shares, which were worth more than €100 euros before the crisis, are now trading at around €50.
Last year, notes the Prague daily, most specialists viewed this as a temporary situation, which may have been caused by the recession and the impact of German government policy which was increasingly anti-nuclear. However today, the business daily argues, it is clear that "the energy market is being marked by profound change".