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when they are State-owned, State-financed and independently supervised - something that France, despite a few shortcomings, has managed to do.

The problem is that this model is dead - it's actually even illegal in the EU as it would amount to State aid... and let's not talk about the general weakening of regulators over the past 30 years, not in energy in particular but in general.

So today, nuclear electricity (from new plants) will cost 8c/kWh instead of the 3-4c/kWh France achieved for the past 20 years - so more than wind, with even more controversy...

Wind power

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Jan 5th, 2012 at 08:48:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe it's time, as Europhiles, to start opposing the ways in which the EU is pushing wrong-headed policies in many aspects?

tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jan 5th, 2012 at 08:49:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I've tried to do this whenever I have an opportunity to speak publicly. Last year I was invited to speak at various EU events (including one to all national regulators) and made this presentation: The financing of new energy infrastructure in the EU (as discussed here on ET).

I've been asked to contribute to the Hollande campaign on these issues and am passing on some of these ideas as well.

Wind power

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Jan 5th, 2012 at 08:59:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You don't even need state financing and ownership (though it certainly doesn't hurt) as long as you have a culture of excellence and a focus of safety first. Which is quite hard to do in a deregulated power market or where nuclear is seen as a sunset technology, however.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Sun Jan 8th, 2012 at 08:10:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
for several reasons:

  1. nuclear is a capital intensive technology, and is thus cheaper if financed at low rates over the very long term. Nobody can beat the State to do that

  2. nuclear does have residual risks  which will always be borne by the public - safety, cleanup in case of accident (as they are uninsurable) and long term waste management. One can argue that these costs are more or less measurable, but as they are always - always - for the State, it is only fair the public should get the upside of nuclear power in the form of State ownership of the assets and/or lower prices for electricity.


Wind power
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun Jan 8th, 2012 at 09:08:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
  1. true of course, and I don't disagree. But in a regulated environment, solid private power companies get cheap enough rates as well so as to finance nukes in a reasonable way. This is not a hypothesis - it is the historical experience in eg Finland and Sweden.

  2. that argument also requires that airlines, chemical plants, hydro plants, natgas infrastructure and so on is owned by the state. Of course, the public does get the upside in the form of lower electricity prices as well, if the market is regulated. Which is more or less needed to make nuclear possible for private owners. Even if some exotic ways of financing are possible even in a deregulated market (plants owned directly by a consortium of big power consumers, Mankala model, and so on).


Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Sun Jan 8th, 2012 at 09:33:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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