France passes law to cut nuclear power and double renewable energy | RenewEconomy

France passes law to cut nuclear power and double renewable energy

France to cut share of nuclear power from 75% to 50% by 2025, and double share of renewables. The devil is in the detail.

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The share of renewable electricity in France is growing by around one percentage point per year. At that rate, the country will have 35 percent renewable electricity in 2030. To accommodate for the drop in nuclear power, renewable electricity would have to reach 45 percent by 2025.

Renewables International

Last night, the French Parliament adopted a law to do what President Hollande proposed years ago: reduce the share of nuclear power from 75 to 50 percent by 2025 and double the share of renewables in the next 25 years. But the devil is in the detail.

Recently, my colleague Arne Jungjohann and I reviewed the overlapping between Germany and France’s energy transitions based on a study by the Friedrich Ebert Foundation. In preparation for the upcoming climate talks in Paris, the French government has now made these plans the law of the land. Here’s what you need to know about the law:

  • Energy consumption will be cut in half by 2050. Fossil fuel consumption is to be reduced by 30 percent relative to 2012 by 2030. This consumption is measured in terms of primary energy, which makes these seemingly ambitious targets easily attainable – a simple matter of definition.
  • The law makes no sense in one respect. By 2025, the share of nuclear is to drop by 25 percentage points. Yet, the share of fossil fuel is to drop. The only thing left is renewables, which made up nearly 20 percent of power supply in 2014. If renewables are to make up for the reduction in nuclear, they would have to increase to 45 percent of supply by 2025 – yet, the target for renewable electricity is 40 percent by 2030.
  • France is not ramping up renewables fast enough, so it will not reach that target anyway. Furthermore, it will not reach its target for the reduction in nuclear power, which is completely unrealistic – the country would have to shut down a third of its reactors over the next 10 years.
The share of renewable electricity in France is growing by around one percentage point per year. At that rate, the country will have 35 percent renewable electricity in 2030. To accommodate for the drop in nuclear power, renewable electricity would have to reach 45 percent by 2025.
The share of renewable electricity in France is growing by around one percentage point per year. At that rate, the country will have 35 percent renewable electricity in 2030. To accommodate for the drop in nuclear power, renewable electricity would have to reach 45 percent by 2025.

In reality, the nuclear sector is hoping that overall power consumption will skyrocket, thereby leaving the country’s nuclear fleet untouched. The law specifies that the current fleet’s output is the maximum for the country, for instance. In other words, if the EPR reactor in Flamanville is ever completed, roughly the same capacity would need to be shut down. Turn this around, and you can see the wishful thinking: old reactors will not have to be shut down unless they are replaced with new ones.

In the end, everything about this law is unlikely, including the hope that power consumption will increase by 50 percent in order to save the existing nuclear fleet. Power demand has risen in France over the past few decades (whereas it has remained more stable in Germany, for instance), so the expectation has historic justification. It may also be over, as the charts below show. Overall, it simply too early to tell whether this new French law marks a real change in direction or simply some window dressing for the upcoming climate conference that France will host.

Francehistoricpowerconsumption

Source: Renewables International. Reproduced with permission.

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4 Comments
  1. Ken Dyer 5 years ago

    Hooray! Another knife into the nearly beating heart of the nuclear zombie! But for you nuclear enthusiasts out there, there is still hope.

    We have a very nice working fusion reactor at the safe distance of 150 million km, thank you very much, which delivers a continuous 174 petawatts of energy to Earth free of charge. It has sufficient fuel to continue operation for several billion years and its rate of fuel consumption is completely unaffected by anything we do with the delivered energy at this end. It’s called solar power.

    • Ronald Brakels 5 years ago

      I see your problem there, Ken. To stop a nuclear zombie, knives to the heart are no good. You need to use a graphite rod to soak up those neutrons. Nuclear zombies also have an unholy fear of wind turbines and solar panels and when confronted by them will cower behind coal power stations and gas turbines while emitting horrible moans about baseload generation and grid stability. They cannot be bought off because they have cast aside all knowledge of how markets operate as an impediment to their goal of having reactors built that cannot compete in anything approaching an open market for wholesale electricity.

  2. Exactly99000 5 years ago

    Here’s what everyone should know about nuclear energy, IMO –>

    (1) Nuclear energy is NOT carbon-emission-free.

    Nuclear power plants release 90 – 140 g of CO2 per kwh.

    And each nuclear power plant releases Carbon-14 which is CONVERTED TO CO2 in the atmosphere!

    Nuclear energy = Carbon14 = CO2 = Climate Change

    (2) Nuclear power plants also release dangerous radiation into the air and water during their daily operations.

    This radiation is linked to all kinds of cancers, heart disease, diabetes, birth defects, miscarriages, infertility, thyroid problems, leukemia, ADHD, autism, the list goes on and on

    (3) During refueling, nuclear power plants release up to 1,000X the amount of radiation and Dr. Ian Fairlie believes this is what causes the increases in childhood
    leukemias around nuclear power plants.

    (4) Let’s discuss the childhood leukemias and cancer deaths researchers say are caused by nuclear energy:

    Quote from Dr. Ernest Sternglass —>

    “…The official measurements carried out by the Office of Radiological Health, and by the government, and the Public Health Service, they measured the radiation doses around the first big reactors in Dresden near Chicago, and they found that
    indeed there were doses almost as high as half of the normal background, and according to Dr. Stewart’s finding, that would mean an increase of 40-50% in childhood cancers and leukemias around the fence of every nuclear plant.”

    SOURCE: youtube /watch?v=hN7rcjSnxZs

    (5) Dr. John Gofman’s research found that each nuclear power plant causes up to 1,600 cancer DEATHS per year.

    (6) There is NO solution to nuclear waste, and nuclear waste is the largest form of LONG TERM DEBT that any country with nuclear energy will ever have.

    The cost to store and guard nuclear waste for up to 250,000 years is INFINITE, and there is no container that can even hold nuclear waste that will last even 30 years.

    (7) Each nuclear power plant uses up to 30 MILLION gallons of water per HOUR.

    (8) In the event of a meltdown, the cost will be up to a TRILLION dollars, along with horrible health effects, and pollution of land and water for generations.

    (9) To learn more, go to the highly recommended website ENENEWS dot com

    (10) See how every state can be run entirely with Renewable Energy at www thesolutionsproject dot org
    ……..

    • The Dude 5 years ago

      The nonsense above is a boring combination of conjecture and outright lies. Read the open letter by the top climate scientists to the Earth Muffins asking them to grow a brain and end their opposition to nuclear power. The truth is that Wind and Solar are expensive jokes. France has the lowest emissions because they were smart enough to adopt a carbon-free source of energy. Hollande, with this legislation, just has to placate the ignorant Greens for a while; it will be repealed. Germany, for all their push for expensive solar, are building more lignite coal plants. They now have the highest emissions in Western Europe. You Earth Muffins need to grow up and admit that wind and solar are unreliable expensive intermittent sources that cannot replace dispatchable power.

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