Sweden Closes 2 Nuclear Power Plants 

Sweden Closes 2 Nuclear  Power Plants Sweden Closes 2 Nuclear  Power Plants 

While it is certainly true that many European countries have made enormous strides in renewable energy generation, there is another fuel source that is unusually important in many European countries compared to the rest of the world: nuclear power.

Sweden is a prime example of this. The country generates almost 35% of its electricity from nuclear power—just shy of the amount that it generates from all renewable sources combined, Oilprice reported.

Hence, it was more than a little surprising when Swedish utility company Vattenfall announced earlier this year it was closing its Ringhals 1 and 2 nuclear reactors.

Combined, the Ringhals reactors generated 9.8 terawatts-hours of electricity in 2014 versus 11.6 terawatt-hours produced by all of the wind turbines in Sweden combined. The shutdown is a big deal in the Nordic country and led long-term whole power futures to rise by roughly 4%.

The company shut down the reactors in response to a combination of relatively low wholesale power prices and the announcement by the Swedish government that taxes on nuclear power would increase as of August.

Nuclear power is, in fact, one of the cleanest power sources on earth, and given the production costs required to make enough solar panels or wind turbines to offset the loss of a single nuclear plant, one could make a credible argument that nuclear power is a greener technology than conventional renewables.

The shutdown of nuclear reactors can even lead to more carbon emissions and of course higher electricity prices as supply of wholesale electricity declines and remaining conventional fossil fuel plants find that it is more profitable to ramp up output.