France is at a crossroads, writes Jules Hebert, program coordinator on the Heinrich Böll Basis workplace in Paris. It might probably pursue a renewed nuclear mannequin – or comply with the German instance and make investments massively in renewable vitality. It’s typically mentioned that the French folks assist the nuclear path, notes Hebert – however a latest survey involves a special conclusion. Article courtesy Power Transition/World Energiewende.
In November 2017, French Minister Nicolas Hulot introduced that the federal government goal of accelerating renewable vitality within the electrical energy combine could be postponed, His announcement got here as a shock. He defined that the goal of accelerating the quota of renewable vitality within the electrical energy combine “can be troublesome to keep up”, and that the French authorities will suggest a transparent program to achieve their postponed targets inside a 12 months.
Respondents perceived the German Energiewende far more positively than their financial and political elites
The plan to cut back the share of nuclear vitality within the electrical energy combine from 75 to 50% was set out within the vitality transition regulation, which was handed by the earlier authorities in 2015. Nonetheless, it’s nonetheless missing a concrete plan, in addition to particular steps towards a brand new vitality mannequin – a bit like launching a ship into the water, setting out a course, however forgetting to hoist the sail and pull up the anchor.
France is at a crossroads: the federal government might now select to take a position lots of public cash in a renewed nuclear mannequin. Or it might select to take a position massively in renewable energies.
Power transition as main alternative
It’s typically mentioned that the French folks strongly assist nuclear vitality as a jewel of the French business. Nonetheless, a survey commissioned by the French workplace of the Heinrich Boell Basis and the French suppose tank La Fabrique écologique, carried out by the analysis institute Harris Interactive, exhibits that the French folks would fairly like to drag up the anchor and set sail for a brand new mannequin primarily based on renewable vitality.
Certainly, 91% of interviewees contemplate the vitality transition as “precedence subject” (47%) or a “main subject” (44%). 63% see the vitality transition as a chance fairly than as a menace (11%).
However what ought to vitality transition appear like, in accordance with them?
A transparent choice for renewable vitality
The pattern could be very clear: 83% of French folks suppose France ought to prioritize investments in renewable vitality. Solely 12% of the interviewees choose that investments go in the direction of the modernization and life extension of nuclear energy crops. 66% of respondents come out in opposition to the development of recent nuclear energy crops.
It exhibits that the promoting and continuously repeated arguments that nuclear vitality – typically described as “clear vitality” – is the one satisfactory resolution in terms of combating local weather change just isn’t having the meant impact on French public opinion.
Additionally shocking is the truth that the actor during which the French folks have probably the most confidence to guide the vitality transition is neither the state (trusted by 49% of the interviewees) nor the vitality producers and suppliers just like the state owned EDF (trusted by solely 46%). Relatively, folks belief citizen vitality cooperatives (trusted by 78%), in addition to NGOs and associations (trusted by 66%).
A optimistic view of the Energiewende
One other salient level of the survey is the opinion of the French folks in regards to the German vitality transition. Respondents perceived the German Energiewende far more positively than their financial and political elites.
The French folks suppose France ought to work extra intently with Europe (54%) and with Germany (51%) on vitality points
Within the French public debate the German vitality transition is usually described as a “return to coal” or a monetary abyss. The outcomes of the survey by Harris Interactive present that though 72% of the interviewees decide that “the German vitality transition has not contributed sufficient to the discount of CO2 emissions” (which is true), 65% of them additionally suppose that it has contributed to the creation of jobs and to a extra dynamic financial system.
Over half of them see the Energiewende as “a great instance for the vitality transition.” Final however not least, the French folks suppose France ought to work extra intently with Europe (54%) and with Germany (51%) on vitality points.
The winds of change
There are numerous indicators that the wind in France is altering. Earlier this month, the French authorities launched a ten-point plan that ought to double wind energy capability by 2023.
Moreover, state-owned vitality firm EDF (whose market share in France is round 85%) appears to have understood that nuclear vitality couldn’t be the one path for the long run. The corporate introduced a brand new plan for photo voltaic vitality on December 11th, solely sooner or later earlier than the One Planet Summit organized in Paris (two years after the Paris Settlement). €25 billion can be invested between 2020 and 2035 to develop 30GW of photo voltaic crops in France – 4 instances better than its present capability.
The subsequent months will present if French President Macron and his Surroundings Minister Hulot are heading in the direction of a brand new vitality mannequin, primarily based on renewable and decentralized vitality manufacturing, creating market worth and jobs on a neighborhood degree. This is able to align with Macron’s ambition to cut back inequalities between rural and concrete areas, in addition to to encourage small and rising revolutionary companies.
Editor’s Be aware
This text was first revealed on the web site of the Power Transition/World Energiewende weblog of the Heinrich Böll Basis and is republished right here with permission.
The whole outcomes of the survey can be found right here (in French).