Strange Barry Brook Tweet

I hesitated if I wanted to write about this, but after a couple of days, I do think it is worth a couple of lines.

Here is a tweet by Fossil Nuke (a person supporting nuclear and opposing renewable energy, no insult intended) Barry Brook:

Germany will start up more coal-fired power stations than at any time in the past 20 years due to nuclear closure:

It quotes an article by Stefan Nicola at Bloomberg, titled “Germany to Add Most Coal-Fired Plants in Two Decades, IWR Says“.

Can you spot Brook’s error immediately?

It is of course very easy. As explained for example here by Craig Morris, it takes substantially more than two years to build a new coal power plant. Even if, as Barry Brook seems to think, the German government had decided to build lots of new coal as compensation for shutting down nuclear right after the Fukushima accident two years ago, none of those plants could be “started up” this year.

The article cited by Brook nowhere says anything to base the “due to nuclear closure” claim on. But it does contain this:

“The growth in renewables and the decline in power consumption have already fully bridged the gap opened by the shutdowns of the eight nuclear reactors in 2011,” Norbert Allnoch, head of the IWR, said in today’s statement.

You wouldn’t know that from reading Brook, of course.

For the record, the mid-term prospects are not exactly bright. Germany will, as laid down by law, reach 80 percent renewable at the latest in 2050, which is about the time frame you would need to consider when bringing a new plant online in 2017, six years after the phase-out decision. That will strongly cut down the capacity factor. And the carbon prices won’t stay as low as they are now for all those decades.

And of course, you can’t build a coal plant in Germany without fighting BUND (Friends of the Earth Germany) in court. They claim to have stopped 20 coal projects, with only much less still left standing, in their latest overview from last November. Here is a map from their website showing all the cancelled projects:

The reality is exactly the other way round. It will be difficult to keep coal capacity as a backup for time slots with less renewable supply under the present and expected conditions, both economic and caused by the intense fight against these projects by environmental groups.




Published by kflenz

Professor at Aoyama Gakuin University, Tokyo. Author of Lenz Blog (since 2003,

3 thoughts on “Strange Barry Brook Tweet

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