Very thorough. I can understand that you didn’t want to make this long article any longer, but I’d be interested to see more discussion of Germany’s power imports and exports. The issue is, how do Germany’s import-export policies affect net emissions for Europe as a whole? Some questions:

What is the composition of power coming into Germany? Wind from Denmark? Hydro from Sweden? Coal from Poland and Czech Republic? Which of these sources are the marginal ones — that is, if Germany had not rapidly shut down existing nuclear capacity, would it be importing less clean power or less dirty power? Or would it simply be burning less domestic lignite?

What is the significance of the Nordlink cable from Norway that is supposed to go on line in 2020? Presumably, this will lower emissions attributed to Germany, but will it lower Europe-wide emissions? Is what comes in from Norway surplus, or is Norway’s hydro capacity constrained, so that there is no net gain from the cable?

What is the source of electricity leaving Germany for the South? Is it excess wind power from northern Germany, or is it lignite from eastern Germany?

How much are import and export patterns in Europe dependent on the adequacy of the grid to move the cleanest electricity where it is needed when it is needed? Is adequate progress being made to fix limitations? Will grid improvements make it possible to build still more Baltic and North Sea wind capacity, where I understand there is now more capacity than can be used?

Finally, what can the US learn from the above? Among other things, how much could US speed up decarbonization by improving the grid?

I’ve seen some fragmentary answers to some of these questions, but not a good source putting them altogether. If you know one, can you provide a link? If you don’t, could this be the topic of a future article?

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Economist, Senior Fellow at Niskanen Center, Yale Ph.D. Interests include environment, health care policy, social safety net, economic freedom.

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