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France Emulating Germany's Failed Energiewende

France wants to reduce its dependence on nuclear energy while simultaneously boosting renewables, as part of a new energy transition law revealed this week by the Hollande government. The FT reports:

A so-called energy transition law, unveiled by the Socialist government on Wednesday, reiterated an election pledge by President François Hollande to cut the share of nuclear power in French electricity generation to 50 per cent by 2025 from about 75 per cent today, the highest level among developed economies.

[U]nder pressure from the left and its Green party allies, the government insists the country needs to rebalance its energy mix to boost its lagging performance in non-nuclear renewables and meet ambitious environmental targets.

This is a difficult one to wrap one’s head around. Ostensibly, the rationale for the greens pushing through this policy change is that France’s considerable reliance on nuclear energy has stunted investments in renewable sources like wind and solar. This new law isn’t just setting a cap on nuclear; it’s also setting ambitious targets for renewables, which it hopes will comprise nearly a third of French energy production by 2030, more than double their current market share of 15 percent.

But it seems that policymakers have forgotten why renewables are an environmental boon, and are simply pursuing their development as an end in itself. The chief advantage of renewables—their lack of greenhouse gas emissions—is also present with nuclear energy. Even better, nuclear power stations can produce electricity when the sun isn’t shining and the wind isn’t blowing. Reducing nuclear’s slice of the French energy pie for environmental reasons is, frankly, flabbergasting, especially with the promising advances in safer, smaller, less wasteful reactor technology coming down the pike.

Germany embarked on a similar energy transition four years ago, phasing out nuclear energy in the aftermath of the Fukushima disaster and dramatically increasing solar and wind energy production with expensive feed-in tariffs. This Energiewende, as it’s called, has left Germany with some of the highest electricity prices in Europe and an increasing reliance on dirty-burning coal, and all the emissions and local air pollution that brings. Paris seems to be following in Berlin’s footsteps, but it does so at its own peril.

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  • Rick Johnson

    It is only difficult to wrap one’s head around this decision if you ignore the fundamental truth about the Greens. They are NOT interested in the environment. They are ONLY interested in winding back the industrial revolution and sending humanity back to the caves. Make this your starting point and all of their apparent contradictions make sense.

    • LarryD

      The fact that the end target is a fifty percent reduction in energy consumption in France strongly supports your evaluation. Some Greens have explicitly written of their desire for unwinding the Industrial Revolution, but it was possible before to dismiss them as an extreme minority.

      • Jacksonian_Libertarian

        Their goal isn’t to have mankind living caves; it’s the virtual extermination the human race, which they see as a cancer on their Goddess Gaia. Robert Heinlein had it right when he said “There are hidden contradictions in the minds of people who “love Nature” while deploring the “artificialities” with which “Man has spoiled ‘Nature'”. The obvious contradiction lies in their choice of words, which imply that Man and his artifacts are not part of “Nature” — but beavers and their dams are. But the contradictions go deeper than this prima-facie absurdity. In declaring his love for a beaver dam (erected by beavers for beavers’ purposes) and his hatred for dams erected by men (for the purposes of men) the “Naturist” reveals his hatred for his own race — i.e., his own self-hatred. In the case of “Naturists” such self-hatred is understandable; they are such a sorry lot. But hatred is too strong an emotion to feel toward them; pity and contempt are the most they rate. As for me, willy-nilly I am a man, not a beaver, and H. sapiens is the only race I have or can have. Fortunately for me, I like being part of a race made up of men and women — it strikes me as a fine arrangement and perfectly “natural”. Believe it or not, there were “Naturists” who opposed the first flight to old Earth’s Moon as being “unnatural” and a “despoiling of Nature”.” – Time Enough for Love

  • Breif2

    So the lamps are to go out all over Europe…? :-/

    • Andrew Allison

      Very good!!

  • Andrew Allison

    Hollande is simply trying to distract attention from the drubbing his party took in the recent election. Unappily for the French people, they will pay the price for this mendacity.

  • Pete

    They’re insane

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