So where will this safe, reliable and affordable electricity come from? Windmills on every strasse? Solar panels on top of every haus? Nein.
BERLIN (AFP) – Germany on Monday became the first major industrialised power to agree an end to nuclear power in the wake of the disaster in Japan, with a phase-out to be completed by 2022.
Chancellor Angela Merkel said the decision, hammered out by her centre-right coalition overnight, marked the start of a "fundamental" rethink of energy policy in the world's number four economy.
"We want the electricity of the future to be safer and at the same time reliable and affordable," Merkel told reporters as she accepted the findings of an expert commission on nuclear power she appointed in March in response to the crisis at Japan's Fukushima plant.
"That means we must have a new approach to the supply network, energy efficiency, renewable energy and also long-term monitoring of the process," said Merkel, whose popularity had suffered over her previous pro-nuclear stance.
The commission found that it would be viable within a decade for Germany to mothball all 17 of its nuclear reactors, eight of which are currently off the electricity grid.
Environment Minister Norbert Roettgen:
"We assure that the electricity supply will be ensured at all times and for all users," he pledged.
The government must now determine how it can make up the difference with renewable energy sources, natural gas and coal-fired plants.