FORATOM welcomes the Second State of the Energy Union Report
FORATOM, the voice of the European nuclear energy industry, welcomes the publication on 1 February 2017 of the European Commission’s Second Report on the State of the Energy Union. EC Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič’s overview of progress towards achieving the Energy Union, as well as the specific reports adopted on the energy transition, highlight the importance of the EU’s long-term policy for energy and climate.
FORATOM is pleased to see that the European Commission acknowledges the benefits of nuclear energy in its Second Report in terms of energy security “A high share of nuclear in the energy mix helps to limit import dependency”, low-carbon emissions “the countries with the lowest greenhouse gas intensity have a high share of low-carbon technologies (renewable and nuclear) in their electricity mix” and low prices “the three Nordic countries had the lowest prices, facilitated by a high share of renewables (hydro in Finland and Sweden, biomass in Finland and wind in Denmark) and nuclear (in Finland and Sweden) in the electricity mix”. In presenting his report, Mr Šefčovič said: “The Energy Union is about more than energy and climate alone; it is about accelerating the fundamental modernisation of Europe’s entire economy, making it low-carbon, energy and resource efficient, in a socially fair manner. While 2016 was a year of delivery, 2017 will be a year of implementation”.
In this respect, FORATOM agrees that energy does indeed play a vital role in economic growth and the well-being of Europe’s citizens. Moreover, FORATOM underlines the essential contribution made by nuclear energy to achieving the objectives of the Energy Union by supplying competitive, secure and virtually CO2-free electricity.
Miguel Arias Cañete, Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy, stated that “Europe is well on track to meet its 2020 climate and energy targets. Despite the current geopolitical uncertainties, Europe is forging ahead with the clean energy transition. There is no alternative”.
FORATOM recalls that the goal of the EU to decarbonise the economy by more than 80% 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, 3 times less than photovoltaic and about the same level as wind power.
In order to ensure that 2017 will be the actual “year of implementation” as Mr Šefčovič said, FORATOM urges the European Commission to publish as soon as possible the final version of the PINC (Communication on the Nuclear Illustrative Programme), taking into account the comments of the European Economic & Social Committee as required under the Euratom Treaty, and hopes that the Electricity Market Design proposals of 30 November 2016 can be amended in the Parliament and Council to bring about the introduction of market price signals that will facilitate investment in low-carbon energy sources (both renewables and nuclear) in a technologically neutral way.