I fear that this will not end well. Via Reuters:
Segolene Royal, appointed French energy and environment minister this month, said on Friday she planned to create 100,000 jobs in the next three years with a drive for green growth.
Royal told a news conference she wanted to accelerate investment in renewable energies like wind, solar, biomass and marine energy, as well as in insulation of buildings. …
“I consider that, in the current context, the quasi-automatic increases of power bills are too brutal,” she said, adding that her cabinet was studying a new decree to control energy bills in the coming three years.
Royal also plans to present a law on France’s energy transition to parliament in July. This plan will confirm Hollande’s pledge to reduce France’s reliance on nuclear energy for electricity production from the current 75 percent to 50 percent by 2025.
It sounds like they’re still in the pre-legislative planning phase here, but let’s go ahead and get straight the gist of what one of France’s newest government ministers would like to achieve with some top-down direction of the country’s energy sector:
1. Boost renewable energy technologies and create thousands of “green” jobs;
2. Phase out a big chunk of their nuclear energy; and
3. Bring down consumers’ energy prices.
…Go home, France — you’re drunk. To handily reduce your reliance on nuclear energy, you need to replace that nuclear energy with a ready substitute. In order to use wind and solar as those ready substitutes (rather than the more affordable coal or natural gas options), you need to throw gobs and gobs of money at them. To throw gobs and gobs of money at them, you need to heavily subsidize them via direct payouts, government “investment,” tax credits, and/or consumer quotas, all of which are costs that inevitably get passed on to taxpayers/consumers in some way — often via higher energy bills, higher taxes, or taking your country further into debt. You’re already in major debt and have had to renegotiate your required deficit-reduction targets with the EU several times over, and let’s not forget the fact that your economy has been skipping between contraction and stagnation for going on several years now.
France’s next-door-neighbor Germany has been in a much better fiscal and economic situation over the past few years, and even they couldn’t manage to make their similar Energiewende plan work without jacking up Germans’ energy prices — with the end result being a major shift to coal as costly renewable energies failed to provide the kind of affordable, reliable energy as the nuclear sources they were meant to replace. These guys need to either get over their nuclear hangups or their reluctance to start fracking, because so far, these grandiose schemes to engineer renewable-based energy sectors are just not working out for either their economies or the environment.