To many, France’s ongoing elections are the latest showdown between the liberal world order and a new brand of right-wing populism. That narrative follows a similar path in energy.
France’s elections are pitting nuclear versus renewables, closed markets versus open, and disruption versus protectionism.
France is going through a quite radical re-evaluation of its electricity mix. It gets about 75 percent of its electricity from nuclear. However, in 2015, President François Holland set a policy that would phase out aging nuclear plants, and reduce nuclear generation to 50 percent by 2025. He wants to fill in the gap with more renewables and efficiency.
Now the two presidential candidates -- Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen -- are sparring over what to do with nuclear. It’s part of a broader debate over nationalizing the energy giant EDF, expanding or limiting energy trading with the EU, and integrating variable renewables with a grid mix that includes a significant amount of nuclear.
On this week's podcast: As we near the May 7 runoff election between Macron and Le Pen, we consider the future of the world’s leading nuclear energy power during a time of political volatility and electricity market transformation.
Then, are we at the start of a new solar trade war between America and the rest of the world? We'll discuss Suniva's wide-ranging trade complaint to the government.
Finally, the U.K. recently went coal-free for a day. We place its significance.