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Two Roads Diverged: A Study of State Aid to Nuclear Energy in France and Germany

Dates:
  • Tue 09 Jun 2020 13.00 - 14.30
  Add to Calendar 2020-06-09 13:00 2020-06-09 14:30 Europe/Paris Two Roads Diverged: A Study of State Aid to Nuclear Energy in France and Germany

In this online debate, we will consider the role of state aid to nuclear energy in both France and Germany together with Guillaume Dezobry (Fidal) and Max Klasse (Blomstein) with Leigh Hancher (FSR) as moderator.

Both France and Germany are currently pursuing very different paths with respect to nuclear energy and, in turn, state aid for the sector. While France is continuing its support, Germany has opted to phase out its nuclear power plants. Nuclear energy and public financing of the sector is often a contentious and sticky issue and, as we will see in the case of Germany, these issues continue beyond the shut down of power plants.

Following the 1973 oil shock, driven by the need for energy security, France rapidly escalated the role of nuclear power in its energy mix. As it stands today, France derives approximately 75% of its electricity from nuclear energy, with approximately 17% of its electricity coming from recycled nuclear fuel. The emission of CO2 per unit of electricity generated is one of the lowest in the world. Due to the low cost of generation, France is also the world’s largest net exporter of electricity, drawing over €3 billion per year. While the current government policy is to reduce this level from 75% to 50% by 2035, nuclear power will remain a key source of energy.

Contrary to this course of action, Germany has made the decision to close the country’s remaining nuclear power plants by 2022, in the name of climate action. Germany now generates over 35% of its yearly electricity consumption from wind and solar sources. However, Germany’s electricity storage capacity amounts to less than 2% of total electricity output. The intermittent nature of these sources means that back-up capacity is necessary. In order to achieve stable baseline power and fill the gaps from fluctuating wind and solar generation, Germany currently relies on coal and natural gas power plants, its remaining nuclear plants and by importing electricity from other European nations. These imports largely come from France and Sweden.

Both courses of action can be deemed imperfect, and both have required state aid. In this session, we will examine how both France and Germany have approached the issue of nuclear energy and state support.

Outside EUI premises - DD/MM/YYYY
  Outside EUI premises -

In this online debate, we will consider the role of state aid to nuclear energy in both France and Germany together with Guillaume Dezobry (Fidal) and Max Klasse (Blomstein) with Leigh Hancher (FSR) as moderator.

Both France and Germany are currently pursuing very different paths with respect to nuclear energy and, in turn, state aid for the sector. While France is continuing its support, Germany has opted to phase out its nuclear power plants. Nuclear energy and public financing of the sector is often a contentious and sticky issue and, as we will see in the case of Germany, these issues continue beyond the shut down of power plants.

Following the 1973 oil shock, driven by the need for energy security, France rapidly escalated the role of nuclear power in its energy mix. As it stands today, France derives approximately 75% of its electricity from nuclear energy, with approximately 17% of its electricity coming from recycled nuclear fuel. The emission of CO2 per unit of electricity generated is one of the lowest in the world. Due to the low cost of generation, France is also the world’s largest net exporter of electricity, drawing over €3 billion per year. While the current government policy is to reduce this level from 75% to 50% by 2035, nuclear power will remain a key source of energy.

Contrary to this course of action, Germany has made the decision to close the country’s remaining nuclear power plants by 2022, in the name of climate action. Germany now generates over 35% of its yearly electricity consumption from wind and solar sources. However, Germany’s electricity storage capacity amounts to less than 2% of total electricity output. The intermittent nature of these sources means that back-up capacity is necessary. In order to achieve stable baseline power and fill the gaps from fluctuating wind and solar generation, Germany currently relies on coal and natural gas power plants, its remaining nuclear plants and by importing electricity from other European nations. These imports largely come from France and Sweden.

Both courses of action can be deemed imperfect, and both have required state aid. In this session, we will examine how both France and Germany have approached the issue of nuclear energy and state support.


Location:
Outside EUI premises -

Affiliation:
Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies

Type:
Online Debate

Links:
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