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Battle Over Nuclear's Role In Renewable Energy Goals Continues

The battle over nuclear energy's role in the EU's renewable energy future is far from over, with Germany, Spain, and other EU countries fighting to keep nuclear energy from counting when it comes to calculating renewable energy targets, a letter seen by Reuters suggests.

France has made it clear that low-carbon hydrogen derived from nuclear energy should indeed count toward the bloc's renewable energy tarts. Spain, Germany, Denmark, Austria, Ireland, Luxembourg, and Portugal, strongly disagree. On Thursday, the group sent a letter to the rotating EU presidency, arguing that renewable targets should not include nuclear.

The EU is working towards establishing new renewable energy targets, but the stalemate over nuclear's role is hindering progress.

"Taking into account low-carbon hydrogen and low-carbon fuels in the 2030 (renewable energy) targets would decrease the ambition and slow down renewables deployment, which in turn would jeopardize the achievement of the climate targets," the letter reads in part.

The group has argued that while nuclear might be low-carbon, it is not renewable.

France relies on nuclear energy for 70% of its power, and any goals that don't include nuclear energy are unlikely to gain France's support—a reality that could result in a permanent stalemate when it comes to resetting the bloc's renewable targets. In December, nuclear power generation went a long way in alleviating a strain on its electricity grid as temperatures dropped below freezing—but avoiding power cuts as many had warned leading up to the colder weather.

France struggled last fall with nuclear power as more than half of its reactors were offline due to maintenance. Some argued at the time that France was in a tight spot with energy supply because of its slow rollout of renewable energy.

Another disagreement that is currently in the way of reaching a new renewable deal is Germany's balking at the car emissions agreement.

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By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com

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  • Mamdouh Salameh on March 17 2023 said:
    Whether the EU States agree or disagree to consider nuclear energy renewable is irrelevant. They still have to use it. Even a partial energy transition wouldn’t succeed without huge contributions from natural gas and to some extent nuclear energy and even coal.

    On their own, renewables are incapable of satisfying the EU or global demand for electricity because of their demand intermittent nature.

    The EU may never reach agreement to exclude nuclear energy from counting when it comes to calculating renewable energy targets because France which derives 70% of its electricity from nuclear energy will never agree to.

    The compromise is, therefore, to allow France to include nuclear energy in its renewable energy targets while excluding it from the objecting members'.

    Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
    International Oil Economist
    Global Energy Expert

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