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Future Power
Wind and Solar Can’t Replace French Nuclear Reactors

Three quarters of France’s energy comes from its fleet of nuclear power plants, but many of those reactors are aging, forcing a reevaluation of the country’s energy mix. Renewables are en vogue in Europe these days, with Germany’s energiewende supposedly setting some kind of “green” precedent (despite the fact that Berlin’s massive subsidization of wind and solar energy has perversely led to a sizable increase in consumption of dirty lignite coal), and there’s a push to replace France’s nuclear reactors with renewables. But, as Reuters reports, the head of the French utility EDF is pouring cold water on that approach:

Dominique Miniere said a 2015 study by state energy agency ADEME, which showed France could switch to 100 percent renewable energy by 2050 for the same cost as relying on nuclear for half of its power, was not realistic. “A certain number of points in that study are not based on technological realities,” EDF executive committee member Miniere told reporters in reply to a question. […]

“We do not believe in a 100 percent renewables mix by the horizon (ADEME) indicates. However, we want to extend the lifespan of our reactors in order to allow a gradual increase of renewables in the mix,” Miniere added. He said replacing nuclear with renewables too quickly, citing Germany as an example, ends up boosting carbon emissions from fossil fuel.

Environmentalists have never taken kindly to nuclear power, despite the fact that it’s one of the only energy sources capable of contributing zero-emissions baseload electricity. The legacy of meltdowns has been enough for greens to discount nuclear’s eco-merits, but the fact remains that anyone looking to craft a 100 percent zero-emissions energy mix needs nuclear power—wind and solar can’t do it on their own. Those renewable energy sources aren’t just expensive (ask a German household for more on that), they’re intermittent, and lacking commercially viable energy storage options that means they can’t provide power on the consistent basis society demands.

In many ways, France provides a better model of a viable and green energy mix than Germany, and the EDF chief is absolutely right—wind and solar can’t replace nuclear power, no matter what clueless environmentalists might have you believe.

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  • Blackbeard

    The Greens will never tolerate nuclear power, or any kind of fossil fuel power for that matter, and the Greens control energy policy in the West. I am actually eager for France, or Germany, or really any advanced industrial country to go full bore renewable energy and then crash the way the socialists crashed Venezuela. Perhaps then we could wake up before it’s too late.

    • Johnathan Swift Jr.

      The problem is that like in Venezuela, they simply keep doubling down and doubling down on the same mind-numbingly stupid policies until chaos is reached, then of course there will be crackdowns on protests, at which point they start to shoot their own people. Nuclear power is clearly the best option for those who buy into the notion of global warming or “climate change,” aka long term weather trends. But, because of “The China Syndrome,” and the incompetence of the Soviets, the no risk lobby won’t allow any new nuclear plants to be built.

      The hillarous thing about the two modes of renewables, the massive bird and bug fryer in Nevada and the bird choppers all over the world is that they would never be allowed to operate were they not the favored method of electrical generation favored by so-called environmentalists. They kill thousands of bald eagles and other raptors and millions of birds. When they first started to build those turbines in California, by elderly father told me they would have to take a tremendous toll on birds, just from the reasoning that they were in areas favored by raptors and that birds don’t have any idea of what a turbine is. Eventually, it will mean the extinction of great raptors because you can only kill so many breeding pairs.

      The preposterous thing about all this is that natural gas is incredibly cheap and supplies are plentiful, so pratical people would be working to look for new fields, exploit the shale deposits and export as much as we can. The great thing about gas development is that it can power cars and trucks as well and lessen the influence of noxious Islamic regimes and of course Vlad the Impaler. It would be great to not have to pay obsequious fealty to the Wicked Wahhabis.

      “Every time government attempts to handle our affairs, it costs more and the results are worse than if we had handled them ourselves.” Benjamin Constant

    • JWJ

      I agree. The faster that California Democrats mandate full “renewable” the better. Once the lights stop coming on 24/7, then it is possible that some people will see the extremist environmental religion for what it is.

  • Terenc Blakely

    Greens in particular and leftists in general don’t really care about the welfare of the general public. If you separate their rhetoric from their actions, it becomes obvious.

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