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Other elements included: a government commitment not to introduce any "one-sided" economic or taxation measures, a recognition by the government of the high safety standards of German nuclear plants and a guarantee not to erode those standards, the resumption of spent fuel transports for reprocessing in France and UK for five years or until contracts expire, and maintenance of two waste repository projects (at Konrad and Gorleben).
In June 2001 the leaders of the ' Red-Green' coalition government and the four main energy companies signed an agreement to give effect to this 2000 compromise.
The companies' undertaking to limit the operational lives of the reactors to an average of 32 years meant that two of the least economic ones – Stade and Obrigheim – were shut down in 20 respectively, and the one non-operational reactor (Mülheim-Kärlich, 1219 MWe) commenced decommissioning in 2003.
Brunsbüttel was shut down in 2007, as was Krümmel, apart from a few weeks operation in 2009.
Germany’s electricity production in 2016 was 651 TWh, with demand of 597 TWh and net exports of 54 TWh.
Of the total generation, lignite provided 150 TWh (23%), hard coal 112 TWh (17%), nuclear 85 TWh (13%), gas 81 TWh (12.5%), onshore wind 68 TWh, offshore wind 12 TWh, biomass 45 TWh, solar PV 38 TWh, hydro 21 TWh, and household waste 6 TWh (Preliminary figures for 2017 are 147.5 TWh from lignite, 92.6 TWh from hard coal, 76.3 TWh from nuclear, 86.5 TWh from gas, 6 TWh from oil, 20 TWh from hydro, 45.5 TWh from biomass, 106.6 TWh from wind, 40 TWh from solar, 6 TWh from waste and 27.7 TWh from others (Germany is one of the biggest importers of gas, coal and oil worldwide, and has few domestic resources apart from lignite and renewables (but see later section). The preponderance of coal makes the country Europe’s biggest emitter of carbon dioxide.
“Over the last decade, well-intentioned policymakers in Germany and other European countries created renewable energy policies with generous subsidies that have slowly revealed themselves to be unsustainable, resulting in profound, unintended consequences for all industry stakeholders.
While these policies have created an impressive roll-out of renewable energy resources, they have also clearly generated disequilibrium in the power markets, resulting in significant increases in energy prices to most users, as well as value destruction for all stakeholders: consumers, renewable companies, electric utilities, financial institutions, and investors.” This is the introductory paragraph in a July 2014 report by Finadvice for the Edison Electric Institute and European clients. In a 28 November 2015 Special Report , having pointed out that French households pay about half as much as German ones for electricity, commented: “Germany has made unusually big mistakes.
All operating nuclear plants then had unlimited licences with strong legal guarantees.
(See later sections.) Responsibility for licensing the construction and operation of all nuclear facilities is shared between the federal and Länder governments, which confers something close to a power of veto to both.