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Deeper into the red

Written by  Martin Arnold

Sustainable energy is enjoying a strong upswing. Investments in renewable energy in 2014 saw concrete investments of 270 billion dollars. The overall share of renewable energy has even reached 22 per cent, whereas nuclear energy contributes 10 per cent to global electricity requirements.

With 21 per cent, Spain generated more electricity from wind than from any other energy source in 2013. This was a symbolic breakthrough as never before had a new renewable energy source become the main electricity supplier in a country. The construction of a low-carbon energy sector is referred to by the IPCC as key to developing technical measures against climate change. And although it also calls nuclear energy a potential electricity supplier, it highlights the problem of social acceptance. Even when it comes to economic matters, nuclear energy is encountering headwinds. Increasingly strict safety requirements are driving existing nuclear power plants into red numbers, and new constructions – as seen in Finland, France and soon in the UK – are financially getting completely out of hand. Under these conditions, major energy companies such as Germany's E.ON are trying to get out of this business. Best would be if the state takes over part of the decommissioning costs and contributes to the disposal costs.

Mycle Schneider, Energy Consultant, Paris, France: “Technology and democracy are growing apart”

Robert Spaemann, Philosopher, Germany: “Technology and democracy are growing apart”