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  • Germany's Doing What With Their Nuclear Plants? // ERCOT Gets A New CEO // Dire Straits: The UK Imports LNG From Australia

Germany's Doing What With Their Nuclear Plants? // ERCOT Gets A New CEO // Dire Straits: The UK Imports LNG From Australia

Germany's Doing What With Their Nuclear Plants?

The German government has decided to keep its last three nuclear plants running as it prepares for a brutal winter ahead.

"The decision has yet to be formally adopted by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s cabinet and would likely require a vote in parliament," reports the Wall Street Journal.

Plus, some details still need to be worked out and a "cabinet decision would also need to wait on the outcome of an assessment of Germany’s energy needs that will be concluded in the coming weeks but which the officials said was a foregone conclusion."

Yet it looks like the reactors are secure for the rest of the year. “The reactors are safe until Dec. 31, and obviously they will remain safe also after Dec. 31,” a senior official told the WSJ.

Even though this decision is temporary it signals the beginning of the end of the Energiewende, which took Amory Lovins's vision of a non-nuclear, non-fossil future to heart. The 1970s energy crisis may no longer be the prism through which we see energy policy.

"This is an important and crucial first step from Germany in dealing with Europe’s energy and security crisis," Madison Hilly of the Campaign for a Green Nuclear Deal told Grid Brief. "But as is the case with many crises in wealthy countries, most of the pain will be experienced out of the limelight in poorer countries. Europeans will pay a price for Germany’s reckless energy policy, but not nearly as high a price as the Global South will."

And that's because of the nature of the global LNG market, which will price out poorer countries as prices continues to rise on the way toward winter.

Nor should it be forgotten that had Germany invested in nuclear energy instead of renewables, it would have decarbonized its grid four years ago.


Pablo Vegas, an Ohio utility executive, will become the first chief executive of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas in sixteen months. His predecessor, Bill Magness, was let go after the 2021 ice storm that blacked out the Lone Star state killing hundreds.

In the immediate aftermath of ice storm Uri, plenty of Texas politicians took pot shots at the ERCOT board--most of them didn't even live in Texas. Board members resigned. "At the time, a bipartisan chorus from state lawmakers expressed frustration and disbelief that many ERCOT board members, despite extensive energy industry expertise, lived outside the state," writes the Texas Tribune.

Now someone from out of state will run the whole institution. Yet Vegas is not a total newcomer to Texas. Though Vegas's leaving NiSource, a midwestern gas utility that serves 3 million customers, he cut his teeth serving as the COO for the Texas transmission firm AEP Texas from 2008 to 2010.

"It is unclear how much independence Vegas and ERCOT will have in running the power grid," reports the Texas Tribune. "Gov. Greg Abbott, who is running for reelection in November, has closely controlled how — and whether — ERCOT communicates grid information with the public since the 2021 winter storm, which has become a major campaign issue for his Democratic opponent, Beto O’Rourke."

Meanwhile, the Texas grid has been on the brink of disaster for a substantial portion of the summer. Overbuilding renewables and underinvesting in thermal energy generators have taxed the grid's stability during a series of heat waves that began earlier in the spring.

Dire Straits: The UK Imports LNG From Australia

For the first time in six years, the United Kingdom is importing liquefied natural gas from Australia. Such a move indicates how dire the European energy situation has become.

Normally, the UK and Europe import from Qatar, the US, and Peru, because the distances aren't anywhere near as long as importing LNG from the southern Pacific region. And yet the energy crisis has cheapened the cost of such a long voyage by making the shorter trips scarcer and thus less affordable.

It's true that the British grid is not connected to the EU's main network. However, they are linked via gas pipelines. "The UK has little domestic storage and generally sends any excess gas through its links to the European Union," reports Bloomberg. "This year, European and UK benchmark gas prices have surged, with the market tightening in recent weeks as Russia curbs supplies to the EU and a heat wave scorches the region."

Yet China's demand has remained mild. So, for now, producers are sending everything they have to Europe where they can get top dollar.

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Conversation Starters

  • Japan aims to restart nine more nuclear reactors to stave off a full-blown energy shortage this winter. “Beyond next summer, it’s important to keep restarting new nuclear power plants,” Yasutoshi Nishimura told the press last Friday. “The government will work with operators to make sure they comply appropriately with safety inspections, and will work to gain the support of local municipalities.”

  • Scotland has chopped down 14 million trees to make way for 21 wind farms since 2000.

  • The Energy Information Administration expects renewables to make for 22% of America's electricity generation this year.

Crom's Blessing

On Aug 14, 1973, NASA patented this space suit.