New Energy and Environment Minister Segolene Royal’s seems to be putting the wrong foot forward with France’s energy policy. Reuters reports:
[Segolene Royal] told a news conference she wanted to accelerate investment in renewable energies like wind, solar, biomass and marine energy, as well as in insulation of buildings. […]Royal also plans to present a law on France’s energy transition to parliament in July. This plan will confirm Hollande’s pledge to reduce France’s reliance on nuclear energy for electricity production from the current 75 percent to 50 percent by 2025.
Let’s recap. In the name of furthering green goals, Royal intends to cut nuclear’s slice of France’s energy mix. That’s the same energy source that can provide plenty of baseload electricity without emitting greenhouse gases. Moreover, nuclear—unlike solar and wind energy, which Royal is intent on beefing up in nuclear’s absence—isn’t doesn’t suffer from cloudy days or days with calm winds, unlike its renewable counterparts.Royal seems to be taking her energy policy cues from Germany, and that’s not a good thing. As part of its much-hyped energiewende, Germany jump-started wind and solar energy production with guaranteed long-term, above-market rates for producers, called feed-in tariffs. They succeeded in getting renewables up and running, but the costs of these tariffs were passed on to consumers in the form of higher electricity prices, hurting the competitiveness of German industry. And on top of higher energy prices, Germany is burning a lot more coal to make up for the nuclear energy it is currently phasing out, which actually led to an increase in emissions last year.Phasing out nuclear will lead to higher greenhouse gas emissions, and ramping up renewables will lead to higher electricity prices. France should have taken the energiewende as an example of what not to do.