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France’s Emmanuel Macron to lead the nation to renewable energy, and away from nuclear

New Energy Update, French President-elect set to boost sluggish solar growth Emmanuel Macron’s victory in France’s presidential election on May 7 is set to usher in a new wave of renewable energy development, according to his campaign pledges.

Macron pledged to double solar and wind capacity and close all of France’s coal-fired power stations by the end of his five-year term in 2022. He has also pledged to retain laws introduced in 2015 which aim to cut the share of nuclear power from 75% to 50% by 2025. This could equate to the closure of 25 GW of nuclear power capacity and shutdown dates will depend on growth in solar and wind capacity.

French solar capacity currently stands at 7 GW while wind capacity is around 12 GW. Solar and wind development has been hampered by regulatory and administrative hurdles and Macron plans to simplify the authorization process.

The closure of 25 GW of nuclear power capacity would require around 75 GW of new renewable energy capacity, Jefferies analysts Ahmed Farman and Oliver Salvesen said in a research note April 24.

“That looks quite challenging given that in the last 10 years only 18 GW of wind and solar was installed in France,” the analysts said in their note.

Market analysts have highlighted the challenge of shutting down an estimated 25 GW of nuclear power capacity over such a short timeframe while maintaining grid stability. While Macron supports the 2025 nuclear phase-out law, he has not set out a firm position on the phase-out date.

“The lack of a firm position on this issue may be because Mr Macron is well aware that the 2025 target is highly ambitious,” Farman and Salvesen said in their research note.

The 50% nuclear target may instead be reached between 2030 and 2033, a Macron adviser told Bloomberg in a report published April 26. The 50% objective could be reached sooner if ASN, the French nuclear safety authority, imposes tough conditions to extend reactor lifespans from 40 to 50 years, the adviser told Bloomberg.

Some 34 of EDF’s 58 reactors will soon reach 40 years of operations and the ASN will publish its safety report on the proposed lifespan extensions in around 2018.

Macron has said he would decide on the future of these reactors following the ASN’s report.


May 12, 2017 - Posted by | France, renewable

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