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Working paper / Energy

Security of Supply and Electricity Network Flows after a Phase-Out of Germany's Nuclear Plants: Any Trouble Ahead?

Author(s): KUNZ Friedrich, VON HIRSCHHAUSEN Christian, MÖST Dominik, WEIGT Hannes

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ABSTRACT

This paper, which examines the impacts of phasing out nuclear power in Germany, is the first to include an analysis of energy supply security and critical line flows in both the German and Central European electricity networks. The technical-economic model of the European electricity market, ELMOD, is used to simulate alternative power plant dispatch, imports, exports, and network use for a representative winter day. The results suggest that the shutdown of Germany’s nuclear plants will result in higher net imports, especially from the Netherlands, Austria, and Poland, and that electricity generation from fossil fuels will increase slightly in Germany and in Central Europe. We find that no additional imports will come from nuclear plants since they are already fully utilized in the merit order, and that electricity prices will rise on average by a few Euros per MWh. We conclude that closing the seven nuclear power plants within the government’s moratorium will cause no significant supply security issues or network constraints and an eventual full phase-out seem to be possible due to the completion of several new conventional power plants now under construction. Finally, we suggest that a nuclear phase-out in Germany within the next 3-7 years will not undermine security of supply and network stability in Germany and Central Europe.