Germany still struggles to accommodate the phased closure of all its nuclear plants and to be nuclear free from 2022. The promise from Angela Merkel came shortly after Japan's 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, which was triggered by an earthquake and tsunami, resulting in multiple equipment failures, nuclear meltdown and the release of radioactive materials in to the atmosphere. The devastating chain of events showed the dangers in nuclear and re-ignited the debate on the feasibility of nuclear as a potential alternative energy source to fossil fuels.

With renewable energies such as wind and solar providing more and more energy across the region and beyond, scientists and engineers in the power station nerve centre at Amprion continue to watch the various gauges and meters with some discomfort as the energy supply can be so variable, as soon as cloud covers the regions solar power plants the engineers see a drop in output and similarly when the wind drops across wind farms. On the flipside during periods of prolonged sunshine or wind you can't simply switch off the supply, the excess energy needs to be managed/stored.

These challenges will create a lot more work for countries such as Germany, committed to reducing their reliance on fossil fuels and move away from nuclear sources.

Germany's solar power capacity is quite incredible; it has risen exponentially to approximately 34 gigawatts, this growth has been triggered in part by state subsidies.

Transportation of renewable wind and solar energy to the stations where it is needed the most is also a major challenge, which they are addressing and recently German parliament approved a 10 billion Euro plan to build new high voltage lines and renew many existing lines in readiness for the transfer.

It will be interesting to see how Germany tackles the various problems, including threats from some of the cheapest coal prices witnessed for some time.