Business Maverick

Business Maverick

France pitches plan to end EU nuclear-energy deadlock with Germany

France pitches plan to end EU nuclear-energy deadlock with Germany
Electricity pylons and power lines near the Paluel nuclear power plant, operated by Electricite de France SA in Paluel, Normandy, France, on Monday, Jan. 24, 2022. France, located at the heart of Western Europe's power grid, with its fleet of nuclear reactors has for decades been the continent's largest electricity exporter, supplying the U.K., Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Belgium and Germany at times of peak demand.

France and eight other European nations dependent on nuclear energy put forward their plan to break the deadlock over state support to extend the life of ageing reactors. 

Now comes the hard part: winning over Germany, which is concerned that those efforts could undercut prices in its economy, Europe’s largest. Berlin has floated its own vision in search of a breakthrough, but the two sides remain far apart ahead of a meeting of energy ministers on 17 October.

The dispute is central to comprehensive re-design of the European Union’s electricity market as the bloc bolsters its energy security after last year’s crisis and prepares for the energy transition. The goal of the power market reform was to weaken the role of natural gas in setting prices while also spurring the take up of renewables.

France — joined by Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Croatia, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia — is doubling down on efforts to ensure support for prolonging existing nuclear facilities, according to a document seen by Bloomberg.

Paris is pushing for rules that would allow it to ensure more stability for state-controlled Electricite de France SA and to tap new financing sources to extend the life of its reactors. Germany, which has phased out nuclear energy, has blocked such efforts out of concern that EDF would be able to sell power at uneconomical costs.

Spain, which holds the rotating presidency of the bloc, submitted a compromise proposal on Friday, laying out options for a breakthrough at the energy ministers’ meeting this month. One of those possibilities involves completely removing the section that governs subsidies for lifetime extensions, according to the document seen by Bloomberg.

Time is running out to finalise the overhaul of the power market design before EU elections next year. If energy ministers fail to reach a deal on 17 October, leaders from the bloc’s 27 member states may take up the issue at a summit later this month to provide political impetus, according to EU diplomats. Once a deal is reached, talks will begin with parliament over the final shape of the reform.


Comments - Please in order to comment.

Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted

MavericKids vol 3

How can a child learn to read if they don't have a book?

81% of South African children aged 10 can't read for meaning. You can help by pre-ordering a copy of MavericKids.

For every copy sold we will donate a copy to Gift of The Givers for children in need of reading support.

A South African Hero: You

There’s a 99.8% chance that this isn’t for you. Only 0.2% of our readers have responded to this call for action.

Those 0.2% of our readers are our hidden heroes, who are fuelling our work and impacting the lives of every South African in doing so. They’re the people who contribute to keep Daily Maverick free for all, including you.

The equation is quite simple: the more members we have, the more reporting and investigations we can do, and the greater the impact on the country.

Be part of that 0.2%. Be a Maverick. Be a Maverick Insider.

Support Daily Maverick→
Payment options