Peter Löscher, chief executive of Siemens, told Der Spiegel that the company will no longer build nuclear plants and will instead focus on renewable energy. "Germany's shift towards renewable energies is the project of the century," Löscher said.
Siemens decision also comes after an arbitration tribunal in May ordered the German company to pay €648 million to France's Areva after it failed to meet contractual obligations in a nuclear joint venture with Areva.
Toshiba made a similar announcement last May. Toshiba announced it expects the switch to renewables will improve its operating profit two times over, rising from 240.3 billion yen in March this year to 500 billion yen by March 2014.
When companies like Toshiba and Siemens who have invested billions in nuclear technology announce they no longer believe that nuclear is commercially viable, that is an important message. When they both announce that they expect to substantially improve their bottom lines by investing in renewable energy, that is also an important message.
The levelized cost of electricity from nuclear has been rising for decades, the levelized cost of electricity from solar and wind has been falling for decades. We are now at the point where new wind and solar installations can generate electricity for lower costs than new nuclear plants and even new coal plants.