Germany’s anti nuclear stance and the impact on energy tax

There has been a bit of a spat between Germany’ environment minister Peter Altmaier and the EU Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger about nuclear power. “I cannot see any plausible political line up that would enable a revival of nuclear power in Germany” Altmaier was quoted as saying (Global Energy World). The Commissioner said there would “still be nuclear power on the German network in 40 years”.
I’ve been puzzled by the German stance from a practical perspective as there will be nuclear plants in other countries close to the borders with Germany and if European energy markets are integrated they can hardly stop nuclear generated electricty from crossing the border into Germany. Such a stance also affects the competitive position of Germany as it will need to invest more heavily in renewables to replace nuclear capacity to meet its emission reduction targets. This is because it is proposed to  replace some old nuclear plants with  coal burning plants – the overall  increase in  German emissions will pose some serious issues.
From a tax perspective, its also imortant. Germany has a power position in the EU at present and therefore its views need to be taken seriously. Will the position on nuclear affect the stance Germany takes on the Energy Tax Directive? Obviously most of the new coal power plants will fall under the EU ETS given their size, but a concern about the cost impact of meeting carbon targets may cause Germany to hold back on the energy tax directive and increasing energy taxes and /or introducing carbon taxes, if it places more burdens on Germany’s competitive position. German industry is very concerned about competitive impacts – its not difficult to see why.

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