As if European industry wasn’t in a weak position already, the German decision – triggered by the 2011 Fukushima nuclear plant disaster in Japan – to move away from nuclear power towards renewables, such as solar, wind and biomass power, is starting to put upward pressure on prices. The surcharge for renewable energy is to rise to 5.5 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh) in 2013 from 3.6 in 2012. For an average three-person household using 3,500 kWh a year, the 47 percent increase amounts to an extra €185 on the annual electricity bill.
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government’s plans to phase out of nuclear energy by 2022 is looking increasingly reckless – and unpopular with the German public. French electricity, which is 80% derived by nuclear power, already much cheaper than what German households are paying.