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Growing pains as Germany shifts to wind and solar power

The country plans to shut down nuclear plants, wean the country from coal and promote renewable energy

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Olaf Taeuber puts on a five-watt lamp at his home in Berlin on Sept. 16 – the only light he will use. Mr. Taeuber has found his utility bills growing rapidly as Germany pursues its plan to shift to renewable energy. German families are being hit by rapidly increasing electricity rates, to the point where growing numbers of them can no longer afford to pay their bills.

Gordon Welters/The New York Times

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Irina Lucke, managing director of EWE Offshore Service & Solutions, near a wind turbine in Oldenburg, Germany on Sept. 14. Ms. Lucke has spent most of past year on the low sandy island of Borkum in the North Sea, supervising the assembly of 30 soaring turbines for Germany’s largest offshore wind farm.

Gordon Welters/The New York Times

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel aims to shut all of Germany’s nuclear plants by 2022 and shift almost entirely to wind and solar power by 2050. But the plan to shift completely to renewable energy sources has run into problems.

Gordon Welters/The New York Times

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Newly constructed offshore wind farms churn unconnected to a German energy grid still in need of expansion. Here Johann Schroeder, captain of the vessel Wind Force II, pilots his boat Sept. 14 at an offshore wind farm in the North Sea.

Gordon Welters/The New York Times

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Workers at an offshore wind farm off the coast of Germany. The government will have to invest up to $27-billion over the next decade to build roughly 2,700 kilometres of new high-capacity power lines and to upgrade lines to transport energy from the north to industries and sites in the south.

Gordon Welters/The New York Times

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