BERLIN (dpa-AFX) - One year after the German nuclear phase-out, Federal Economics Minister Robert Habeck has defended the decision to shut down the last nuclear power plants and pointed to falling electricity prices. The Green politician told the Funke Mediengruppe newspapers (Monday) that all the horror scenarios painted on the wall had not materialized. "We can see today that the electricity supply is still secure, electricity prices have fallen even after the nuclear phase-out and CO2 emissions are also falling."

Of course, the situation was tense after the outbreak of the Russian war of aggression, said Habeck. "We had to implement a great many measures in a very short space of time in order to stabilize the energy supply and reduce the enormous one-sided dependencies that Germany had. We have succeeded: We got through two winters safely." In the electricity sector, we can see that the reforms are taking effect. "The expansion of renewable energies is really picking up speed, we are simplifying and speeding up approval procedures and prices on the electricity exchanges have fallen sharply. By 40 percent since the nuclear phase-out a year ago." At the same time, coal-fired power plants are running less than they have for decades.

Germany has sufficient capacity of its own to cover domestic electricity demand, said Habeck. "Nevertheless, we participate in the European internal electricity market." Two percent of gross electricity consumption was covered by imports last year, but only around a quarter of this was nuclear power from France

The German Chamber of Industry and Commerce (DIHK) had previously complained that electricity prices remained high. DIHK President Peter Adrian also told the Funke Mediengruppe newspapers that German electricity prices on the exchange were still twice as high as in 2019. However, prices have fallen over the course of the past year. Together with taxes, grid fees and levies, the costs are in some cases even four times higher than in other countries, said Adrian.

When asked whether the nuclear phase-out was irreversible, Habeck said: "On April 15, 2023, we completed what the black-yellow coalition decided in 2011 and therefore shut down the last German nuclear power plants for good." It is now clear that the regions in Germany with a lot of renewable energy in particular enjoy real locational advantages. "If some people still want to return to nuclear energy, it should be noted that nuclear energy is not competitive internationally and the costs of current projects are exploding." In addition, the final storage issue in Germany remains unresolved. "It would therefore be better not to constantly question what the country has once agreed on, but to focus on solving current problems." Reliability is needed, also for investment security./hrz/DP/zb