CEO Says the Energy Future is a Renewable One
One of the world’s leading industrial energy giants, Siemens, is leaving the nuclear industry. Speaking to Germany’s Der Spiegel newspaper Sunday, Siemens CEO Peter Loscher explained that the company did not see a future in building new nuclear plants:
The move is a response to the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan in March, chief executive Peter Loescher said.
He told Spiegel magazine it was the firm’s answer to “the clear positioning of German society and politics for a pullout from nuclear energy”.
“The chapter for us is closed,” he said, announcing that the firm will no longer build nuclear power stations.
After the Fukushima nuclear meltdown, governments all around the world are reconsidering their nuclear strategies.
Japan has crafted new feed-in tariffs to encourage rapid adoption of renewable energy in order to replace nuclear capacity; Germany is set to phase out all 17 of its nuclear reactors (all built by Siemens) by 2022; and France — the country with the highest penetration of nuclear plants — is considering a nuclear phase-out option in its long-term energy planning.
The Siemens reversal is one of the most stunning announcements post-Fukushima. It was predictable that some countries would put a moratorium on nuclear development after the incident. But the pull-out of one of the world’s leading nuclear developers shows just how seriously companies are taking these decisions.
Meanwhile, Siemens will continue to focus on renewable energy like wind, concentrating solar power and geothermal. Siemens’s Loscher told Der Spiegel that the switch to renewables is “the project of the century” and explained that Germany’s transition to 35% renewables by 2020 was very realistic.
Siemens is one of a handful of global nuclear heavyweights pushing deeply into renewables. Another major developer, Alstom, has made strategic investments in concentrating solar power and wave energy. And in February of last year, Areva acquired Ausra, a major concentrating solar power company.