KEPSA participated in a one week tour to Berlin, Germany from 12th -17th October 2015. The objective of the tour was to shed light on the developments in Germany that led to the nuclear phase out and constitute the energy transition. The tour was organized by Heinrich Böll Stiftung Foundation (HBS) Berlin.
The tour was aimed at providing the opportunity to familiarize participants with the historical background to the process, obstacles that had to be overcome, the advocates and opponents of a nuclear phase-out as well as current problems. It also informed participants about policies and financial instruments that made the transition possible and instruments needed now to keep track.
The tour also aimed at providing a platform for exchange and information about the respective energy policies .The tour involved intense interactions with experts and policy makers in the nuclear industry and brought together African policy advisors and decision makers from South Africa, Kenya, Ghana and Nigeria with German policy makers, energy experts and civil society.
In the recent years, Germany has drawn international attention to its Energy Transition (Energiewende) with observers querying why a strong economy like Germany would turn its back to nuclear energy and push towards renewable energies. The nuclear phase-out is a central part of Germany’s energy transition with an aim of decarbonizing the economy by switching to renewable sources and to reduce energy demand by achieving efficiency savings. In 2015, out of a former fleet of 32 nuclear plants only nine are still in operation while the last nuclear plant in Germany is to be shut down in 2022.
The oil shocks of the 1970s and the meltdown of the Chernobyl nuclear reactor in 1986 led to the search for alternatives to carbon based or nuclear energy. It took some twenty years and a lot of engagement by civil society as well as technical innovations in the renewable sector and growing political support to make the turn and go for a bigger share of energy from renewable sources.
While internationally the debate is raging on whether nuclear power should form part of any country’s low carbon energy future there is widespread interest in nuclear powered energy all across the African continent. Faced with critical shortages plus increasing demand for electricity, some African governments have already included nuclear energy generation in their future energy plans. Kenya in particular plans to commence nuclear power generation by 2025.
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