Tuesday, February 16, 2016

The CEO of EDF gun law of energy transition – Liberation

Is the energy transition law stillborn? The question may arise after the murder sentence released today by the CEO of EDF, Jean-Bernard Lévy at RTL. Here it is: “We have no plans, in conjunction with the State, given the electricity needs of the French, closing other plants that both will be closed [made of plants, he meant reactors, note]. clearly, EDF intends to close two reactors, normally those of Fessenheim (the oldest French nuclear power plant in operation, in Alsace) to offset up commissioning of the EPR in Flamanville (Manche), postponed to the end of 2018. This corresponds to a provision of the young energy transition law enacted in August 2015, which tops out at its current level of 63.2 gigawatts nuclear production in the country.

But “there is no other planned closure in the next decade” , emphasized the CEO EDF. But this claim challenges a structuring element of this law, expected to reduce to 50% the share of the atom in electricity production in France in 2025 -against 77% today-with the aim of promoting renewable energies. The Court of Auditors had precisely estimated last week that the implementation of this provision of the law could lead EDF to close 17 to 20 of its 58 French reactors in the event of a constant current consumption. And here that Jean-Bernard Lévy quietly ensures that nothing like this is planned, and this, “in association with the State” .

“Crazy and distressing”

“I can not imagine that Mr. Levy allow to say this without it being calculated to the millimeter, I imagine that he took some guarantees the highest level of the state. But it questions the desired energy transition law by the same government, it’s great anything! exclaims Bruno Rebelle, director of the consulting agency for sustainable development and former Transitions head of Greenpeace in France and abroad. This is even crazier and distressing that things are moving locally: in the territories, there is a real momentum for renewable energy and energy savings. There would be enough to encourage this local energy transition and make a tremendous economic lever, creator of jobs can not be outsourced. Instead, we will remain stuck in an ultra-centralized, outmoded and wasteful and continue to lag behind our neighbors in renewable. “

Even dismayed reaction from the side of Anne Bringault, in charge of “energy transition” folder to several NGOs and environmental associations. If EDF, with the agreement of the government, did not close two reactors within ten years, “it would trample on the course set by Parliament” – and, initially, by François Hollande – the share of nuclear power to 50% of electricity production in 2025 and “bury de facto law on energy transition” . It would also, she said, closing the door to renewable energy and energy efficiency: “To say that we will keep the same nuclear power while reducing energy consumption and developing renewable energies, it does not take arithmetically! “

production overcapacity

It would even be ” a serious strategic error “ to EDF says Anne Bringault . “electricity prices are lower, undermining the EDF finances, because we have production overcapacity. We must therefore close plants to meet demand that does not increase. Maintain the current nuclear power is not only dangerous with an aging fleet, with costs Maintenance exorbitant, but mostly keeps EDF in a dead end economically instead of giving it a real vision future, “she says.

EDF wants indeed absolutely extend the operating life of its power plants beyond the 40 years originally planned during their conception. “In the medium term, the state agreed that we modernize the current fleet so that the life that was designed for 40 years, we climbed to 50 and 60 years, subject that nuclear security is guaranteed “, still recalled its CEO today. But to maintain the current fleet of 58 nuclear reactors EDF “able to meet the power consumption and nuclear safety standards, tightened after the Fukushima disaster” in 2011, it will cost close 100 billion by 2030, 1.7 billion per reactor, said the Court of Auditors last week.

and even that EDF is longer able to meet its medium-term financial deadlines due to lower electricity prices. The electrician, who announced Tuesday a net profit divided by three for 2015, to 1.2 billion euros, will probably need a massive recapitalization of the state (known as 5 billion euros ), if it wants to finance both the maintenance of its fleet of existing reactors and other major nuclear projects as the UK EPR Hinkley Point.

“ostrich policy”

So the CEO of EDF will he succeed? The executive, as he suggests, he denies his own law already, that Hollande had however presented at the beginning of his term as “one of the most important texts of the five-year” ? Contacted by Libération , or the office of the Minister of Environment and Energy, Segolene Royal nor the Elysee had responded Tuesday night.

“the law was passed and, like it or not, EDF will apply. EDF dragging its feet and refusing to “predict” what reactors close is industrially irresponsible. This is also said that the Court of Auditors , insists MP Denis Baupin EE-LV. I also noted that Jean-Bernard Lévy believes that the main problem is overcapacity. According RTE (Electricity Transport Network, a subsidiary of EDF which carries high and very high voltage electricity in France), twelve reactors are dedicated to the export of electricity. They therefore contribute to overcapacity and over very low electricity. close gradually would be good economy for EDF, instead of leading the ostrich policy “

One thing is certain. Executive procrastinate. He still did not stop plan for reducing nuclear. The Court of Auditors also deplores, who last week called for the State to assess the economic, social and environmental development of the Multi-annual programming energy (PPE). This text is important, since it must actually transcribe the objectives of the law, setting trajectories of changes in consumption and production of energy by sector (nuclear, renewable energy, gas, etc.). But it is slow to be introduced by the government. It was planned for late 2015, it is now the end of February. Unless new report.

The government fears it say how it intends to do with wind, solar, and therefore how much it plans to close reactors? Asked by Libération on the topic in late January, Ségolène Royal was kicked into touch: “The work is underway and the first consultations are launched. [...] The multiannual programming of energy, with all the concrete actions present and future, matures. “ The change of energy model, it is not now.

Coralie Schaub


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