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The French Disconnection: reducing the nuclear share in France’s Energy Mix

January 15th, 2014 by David Buchan, Oxford Institute for Energy Studies

France has entered into a national debate about its energy transition to meet its long range target to reduce CO2 emissions by 75 per cent by 2050, while maintaining security of supply and the competitiveness of French industry. It is a muddled debate, because the trigger for it is an electoral commitment by President François Hollande to reduce the nuclear share in the country’s electricity mix from over 70 per cent today to around 50 per cent by 2025, a commitment that few people in France – and maybe not even the president himself – regard as sensible or feasible to carry out to the letter. Indeed the origin of the commitment is almost an accident of electoral politics. And the national debate has done little to clarify the issue. Continue reading »

Who Gets Big Subsidies? Not Renewables

January 5th, 2014 by Fereidoon Sioshansi, EEnergy Informer

Renewables often get blamed for getting big subsidies. As reported in the Dec 2013 issue of this newsletter, Europe’s biggest 10 utilities recently called for an end to all renewable subsidies. Those who dislike subsidies on fiscal or ideological reasons must be reminded of two facts that are not widely known: Virtually all forms of energy extraction and production receive some form of subsidy, tax break or other incentives; and the biggest culprits are not renewables but fossil fuels.
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Making the internal electricity market work

December 20th, 2013 by Martin Godfried, University of Amsterdam

At first glance, the integration of the internal electricity market seems to be on track. However, when taking a closer look it is clear that without an extra effort, much of the work done over the last decade may be at risk.
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The Gains And Pain Of Energiewende

December 2nd, 2013 by Fereidoon Sioshansi, EEnergy Informer

Germans, as everyone knows, are an efficient lot. Once they put their mind to it, they deliver results. For some time, Germany has been on the path of increasing its reliance on renewables – the marching order was further fortified when Chancellor Angela Merkel decided to immediately shut down half of the country’s operating reactors following the Fukushima disaster in 2011 and hastily phase out the remaining ones by 2022.
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A Proposal for Reforming an Electricity Market for a Low-Carbon Economy

November 8th, 2013 by Raphael Heffron, University of Stirling

The UK is currently reforming its electricity sector. This gives rise to some pertinent questions: Do the reforms go far enough and can more reforms be expected in the near future?

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How Much Should Self-Generators Pay For The Grid?

November 1st, 2013 by Fereidoon Sioshansi, EEnergy Informer

That is among the questions being asked not just in the US but nearly in any country where self-generation, in one form or another, already is or is likely to become cost-effective. It is also a key question in the context of the net energy metering (NEM) debate in the US or generous feed-in-tariffs (FiTs) that are being scaled back in the EU and Australia.

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Empirics of energy competitiveness

October 10th, 2013 by Georg Zachmann, Research Fellow, Bruegel

The loss of competitiveness because of elevated energy costs is concentrated in a limited number of sectors. The cost of subsidising energy-intensive companies might be greater than the benefits. Continue reading »

French early plant closure and nuclear cutbacks

September 30th, 2013 by François Lévêque, Ecole des mines de Paris

Unlike Germany, France has not decided to phase out nuclear power. But it plans to close the Fessenheim nuclear power plant, in Alsace, ahead of schedule. It has also made a commitment to reduce this technology’s share in its future energy mix. Underpinning these decisions we find the same factors as in Germany: a party built around combating nuclear power; a more acute perception of nuclear risk in the aftermath of the Fukushima-Daiichi disaster; electoral competition; and political alliances which make allowance for risks as perceived by the general public, not as calculated by experts. Just as in Germany we shall see that decisions on targets and the exit schedule have been based mainly on approximation, without paying much attention to economic factors. Continue reading »

Germany will dilute – not abandon – its Energiewende plan

September 22nd, 2013 by Andrew McKillop, Former Expert-Policy & Programming, DG XVII Energy, European Commission

In Germany’s election campaign the attention going to the national energy transition plan is bafflingly low. Official Environment ministry reports however suggest that total costs of Energiewende could or might rise to 1000 billion euros by the late 2030’s if the program is maintained as present, and its targets are not cut back or shifted further into the future. Despite this, most German political parties have tacitly agreed to limit discussion of Energiewende and backpedal their criticism of this free-spending plan, for reasons that are much more than simply political.
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Energy solidarity in Europe: from independence to interdependence

August 30th, 2013 by Sami Andoura, Notre Europe

Notre Europe –Jacques Delors Institute is leading an in-depth study of the future of European energy policy based on a proposal made by Jacques Delors for a “European Energy Community”. It has the merit of having opened a European wingspan debate engaged with various stakeholders: public, private, NGOs, local, national and European. Solidarity plays a key role in a European Energy Community and may later be one of the drivers of the development of an EU-wide energy policy Continue reading »