Press release

Clean Energy Package: FORATOM urges EU decision-makers to adopt a technology neutral approach

Dec 2, 2016

FORATOM takes note of the publication by the European Commission (EC) of its “Clean Energy” package, which aims to improve the functioning of the energy market and make sure that all energy technologies compete on a level-playing field “without jeopardising climate and energy targets”. However, FORATOM wishes the EC had introduced measures to support investment in all low-carbon technologies and not only renewables. Therefore FORATOM calls on the European Parliament and the Council to take a genuinely technology-neutral approach to meeting climate and energy targets when addressing the energy legislative package proposed by the EC.

The EC published on 30 November a package of legislative documents under the headline Clean Energy for All Europeans which includes proposals on renewables, electricity market design, energy efficiency, governance,  security of supply, etc. FORATOM welcomes that the reform of the electricity market design proposed by the EC does move some way towards levelling the playing field, by for example curtailing priority grid access for renewables. However, it regrets that it fails to address the so-called market failure for low-carbon technologies and provide the adequate framework to incentivise investments in these technologies. As a “clean” technology nuclear power should benefit from the same “enabling framework and support schemes” as renewables.

FORATOM also praises the publication by the EC of “a dedicated strategy on accelerating clean energy innovation”, which includes the promotion of industry-led initiatives, such as the European Sustainable Nuclear Industrial Initiative (ESNII), to foster competitiveness. FORATOM believes this will contribute to maintaining Europe’s technology leadership in the nuclear field.

FORATOM recalls that the goal of the EU to completely decarbonise the economy by 2050 cannot be achieved without nuclear power, which currently provides 27% of EU’s electricity and 50% of its low-carbon electricity. Throughout its life cycle (construction, operation, decommissioning) its emissions are comparable to those of renewable energy sources. Nuclear power emits an average of 15 g CO2/kwh. This is 30 times less than gas, 65 times less than coal, three times less than photovoltaic and about the same level as wind power.

I urge the European Parliament and the Council to amend the EC proposals on a new Electricity Market Design to facilitate investments in all low-carbon energy sources, renewables and nuclear, in order to shape Europe’s low-carbon energy mix. There should be no discrimination between technologies and all low-carbon sources should be able to compete on a level-playing field with fully transparent system and transmission costs. A technology neutral market will enable nuclear power to contribute to maintaining the balance and stability of Europe’s grid, while reducing CO2 emissions and boosting the economy.” Jean-Pol Poncelet, FORATOM Director General, said.

Note to the editor: FORATOM is the Brussels-based trade association for the nuclear energy industry in Europe and acts as the voice of the industry in discussions on EU nuclear-related policy. The membership of FORATOM is made up of 16 national nuclear associations and through these associations, FORATOM represents nearly 800 European companies working in the industry and supporting around 800,000 jobs.

For further information, please contact Damien Hennequart (email: Damien.hennequart@foratom.org; Tel: +32 505 32 20).

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