France ranked first in the world for the quality of its electricity
A global survey made by French think tank Institut Choiseul and by KPMG about “energy competitiveness of the states” ranked France and South Korea as leaders in the category “quality of electricity”. The survey includes 146 countries and is divided into four categories, with “quality of electricity”, “quality of the energy mix”, “environmental compatibility” and a fourth category that adds the monthly rate of power cuts and the general business environment. France’s first place in the “electricity” category is the direct result of its important nuclear park, the survey says. In the general ranking, that groups all four categories together, France ends up at the ninth place, Norway being number one. In an interview carried by Le Figaro économie newspaper, French parliamentary François Brottes, who supports a law for a progressive price setting on energy, says that this good result in energy competitiveness comes from two complementary energy sources, nuclear and hydropower, which enable continuity in electricity supply, especially during high demand peaks.
Le Figaro économie | 2012, November 26th
British government outlines new energy bill
Friday, the British government announced important changes in energy regulation that will imply the development of renewable energies and nuclear power. These proposed changes still have to be incorporated in an energy bill that will have to be approved in 2013. Wind power and nuclear energy will be developed through a new mechanism called “contracts for difference” that will guarantee companies that generate power from nuclear or wind a certain price for their electricity. These incentives will be financed through the increase of charges levied on electricity consumers from a current £2.35 billion to about £9.8 billion by 2020. Through this plan, the British government hopes to attract £110 billion in energy investments by 2020. However, EDF’s decision to go ahead with the construction of nuclear reactors at Hinkley Point (Somerset) still depends on the price the government will set in these contracts for difference. Power companies consider that this price will have to be at least £100 per megawatt hour (MW-h).
International Herald Tribune, Les Echos | 2012, November 26th
Energy transition is critical for France's industrial future
Assystem’s Stéphane Aubarbier writes a column in La Tribune newspaper in which he emphasizes the importance for France to develop a sound strategy regarding energy transition. Stéphane Aubarbier points out that engineering companies have a critical role to play when it comes to ambitious energy efficiency programs in sectors such as construction or the automobile industry. Assystem is already working with automobile manufacturers to reduce engines’ gas consumption and to design electric vehicles. Renewable energies are another sector that must be supported by the French government, Stéphane Aubarbier says, adding that Assystem is especially interested by the development of offshore wind power, an industry that has the potential to create thousands of jobs and to position France as a global leader in renewables. With regard to nuclear energy, Stéphane Aubarbier highlights that France must hold a debate about the share nuclear power will have in the country’s energy mix. He explains that to secure the future of French nuclear industry, the government’s strategy in this matter should authorize the extension of the 40-year life cycle of reactors providing approval from France’s nuclear watchdog. As for the shale-gas issue, Stéphane Aubarbier says that technology for its exploitation needs to be experimented and that a debate about the future of this energy will eventually have to take place.
La Tribune | 2012, November 2nd
Read Assystem’s white paper on France’s Energy Challenges
China approves small number of nuclear construction projects
The Chinese government said on Wednesday that it will approve the construction of a small number of nuclear reactors along the country’s coast by 2015. This decision appears as good news for foreign reactor manufacturers as the government said that the new plants will have to be built using third-generation technology and that equipments will have to be conformed to the strictest international safety standards.
Financial Times Europe | 2012, October 25th
Top nuclear industry executives call for collective efforts to win back public trust
Thursday, during an industry conference in London (United Kingdom), senior executives from the nuclear industry said the sector needed to redefine itself to restore public confidence and improve cooperation on safety. Areva CEO Luc Oursel said that “We need to make a collective effort to restore and to rebuild the nuclear brand”. He emphasized that now more than ever the nuclear sector had to be open about nuclear operations and that it should also provide support to the Japanese nuclear industry so it can regain public trust after the Fukushima accident. Ricardo Pérez, president and COO of Westinghouse Electric, said that “What came down at Fukushima was more than a seawall. March 11 was an error”. Mr. Pérez added that nuclear industry had the obligation to continue to address and improve safety issues and that it should do so collectively instead of as separate companies.
International Herald Tribune | 2012, September 14th
Japan likely to phase out nuclear energy
According to officials familiar with the matter, the Japanese government is likely to opt for a phasing out of all nuclear power over the next twenty years as part of the country’s new energy plan. Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda had asked a council last year to recommend a long-term energy strategy that included three scenarios: a complete phaseout of nuclear energy by 2030, a reduction of nuclear power to 15 % or maintaining the current share of 20 % to 25 % of nuclear power in the energy mix. The final decision is expected for September and until now the 15-% option appeared as the most likely, but government officials said that the council would now be in favor of the zero-nuclear option. Japanese Industry Minister Yukio Edano said this month that nuclear power would be eliminated if there is a consensus on how to share the financial burden that will come with an increased use of fossil fuels. Furthermore, national elections are expected in the next few months and public opinion has recently shown strong opposition to nuclear. Japanese industrials, however, are still opposed to the phasing out of nuclear power, stressing that it would push manufacturers who are already under pressure from high domestic costs to shift production overseas.
The Wall Street Journal Europe, August 22nd