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The most depressing part, especially in the way it was reported in the French media, is to see EELV (Greens!) senators (unwittingly?) propagate the message that, of course, the price of electricity will double by the end of the decade, because of the "heavy investments in renewable energy", feed-in tariffs and other subsidies. Talk about shooting oneself in the foot...

If you wanted to ingrain the perception that "renewable energies = taxes and subsidies" even deeper in the French public, you couldn't have done any better. This is the not so subtle message that has been pushed by conventional wisdom and corporate media; many ordinary folks now believe that solar or wind are at best, a speculative bubble or even a scam to subsidize their hard won tax euros to politically connected lobbies.

Of course a large part of that perception is 180 degrees from the reality, but never mind, this is that very perception that's going to shape the upcoming political debates in the near future (just like: we must reduce state spending to reduce state debt level).

Many people's reaction to these news are along the lines: forget about solar and wind mills (un-serious), what we need is more nuclear power plants (serious).

by Bernard on Thu Jul 19th, 2012 at 03:49:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The main problem with Le Monde's write-up, and it's not EELV's fault, is that they quote prices for nuclear which, although higher than those previously quoted, manifestly refer to existing nuclear capacity. Whereas the renewables pricing is manifestly about new build; thus, we are invited to compare apples to oranges.

Having consulted the report itself, it mentions the projected price of electricity from new build (EPR reactors) at 70 to 90 euros/MwH.

(It also mentions in passing, that the price guarantee demanded in the UK by EDF, of the order of 90 to 110, is higher because of the merit order effect, i.e. they are afraid that demand for nuclear electricity would be uneven because of renewables!)

(I note that you cite the error made by most of the press, equating a 50% increase in prices with a doubling, i.e. 100% increase... innumerate journalists...)

The courageous answer for EELV, I suppose, is to do like the PC... deny reality because it's inconvenient.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Thu Jul 19th, 2012 at 05:01:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Indeed, it's how the Senate report has been spun in the mainstream media: "doubling" of electricity bills (elementary arithmetic be dammed), selective quoting of EELV senators attributing some of the reasons to investments in renewable energy, little mention (if any) of the cost of nuclear that's not so cheap after all...

No, denying reality is neither courageous neither good strategy, unless you're a rabid right-winger of course. But for those of us who favor fact & reality based policy, the reality is not always "inconvenient": haven't we read right here that wind "makes power too cheap" and that, all things considered, nuclear energy is not so cheap, to the point where investors start backing off?

Those are certainly worthy points to bring into the debate, especially for EELV. Instead, the perception that's likely to remain for the overall French public is that wind and solar are costly and "un-serious" "gadgets" for tree-huggers. Not a smart move, I'd think...

by Bernard on Sat Jul 21st, 2012 at 08:22:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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