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France energy profile


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France energy profile

  1. 1. France has one of the most centralized economic and political systems in the European Union (EU). It is alsohas one of the most inexpensive and clean energy production ability. France is the largest producer of nuclearenergy in Europe and second largest in the world behind the United States. France has a history of highdependency on imported fossil fuels, particularly oil, as a result of the country having no natural resourcebase. The price shocks of the 1970’s and 1980’s proved the precarious position and vulnerability that Francewas placed in when dependency rates reached almost 80%. Now, France generates enough power to not onlymeet its own needs but to also export a considerable amount. However, oil is still France’s main energysource and its use will continue to increase over the next 20 years, but at a steady rate. In fact, France will continue touse consume at least 50 Mtoe more of total energy until 2020. France’s current energy mix looks like thefollowing:Future Energy DemandIn order to estimate energy use for the year 2020 one must consider population and economic factors. Therole of population is clear because as the population of a country grows so does energy demand for that
  2. 2. country. The main economic statistic to be considered is gross domestic product (GDP). GDP is an indicatorof how well the economy is doing, if the growth rates of GDP are great than the increases in energy demandwill also be great. By examining total population, total GDP, and their respective growth rates one can linkthese statistics in order to predict energy use into the year 2020. However, this process possesses manyuncertainties, as one is required to predict economic performance and population growth over the nextseventeen years. Therefore, unforeseen events such as natural disasters and recessions have the potential toskew the results of these predictions. Despite these uncertainties this prediction will not account for suchoccurrences and assume future growth based on the statistics of previous years. Examination of recent population growth in France reveals that the trends are not perfectly linear. One can see that thepopulation growth rates are fluctuating. The following graph demonstrates this: These changes in the populationgrowth rate will be incorporated into the predicted population size for the year 2020. France is a developednation, therefore it is unlikely to experience any dramatic population swings. Therefore it is assumed that forthe next 17 years the population will grow at a rate roughly around 1.02%. This will result in the populationin 2020 reaching 63.50 million. Alongside population growth one must examine overall GDP and itsassociated trends. The following graph demonstrates the growth of total GDP:
  3. 3. While this chart captures theexpanding nature of the French economy it fails to demonstrate the variability in the growth rate. Thefollowing graph exhibits this information: Economic growth rates aredifficult, if not impossible, to predict. However, from the graph of total GDP one can see that the economy isexpanding. By taking the average GDP growth rates one can extrapolate this growth into the future. By theyear 2020 France’s GDP will reach $2225.06 billion in terms of 1990 US dollars. With these estimates of population and GDP growth in place one can predict future energy demand byexamining past energy demands and combining them with these established forecasts. The following graphrepresents past trends in demands for energy: One can see that energy demands ofthe past have increased in proportion to population and GDP growth of the past. Therefore, combining thelikely population and GDP growth rates one can estimate that energy demand by the year 2020 will be 328
  4. 4. Mtoe (million tons oil equivalent).Fossil Fuels When examining the role that fossil fuels will play in France’s future energy mix the category needsto be broken down into two sections: coal and oil/gas. These sections need to be viewed separately as theamount of money allocated to research and development (R&D) by the French government will affect theirshare of total final consumption in 2020. The infrastructure of industry, transportation, and residential energyconsumption must also be considered. This will be accomplished by looking at the role fossil fuels have hadover time. Together these factors can be used to determine the likely share of fossil fuels as a source ofenergy. The following graph traces the role of coal in France’s energy mix: This graph illustrates the declining useof coal in France’s energy mix. This trend will continue because the use of coal is widely unpopular becauseits emissions contribute to global warming. In fact, France has set 2005 as the date in which it will completethe phase out of all domestic coalmines. The following graph shows the role of natural gas and oil in theenergy mix: This graphs shows the increasingdependence on natural gas and oil in France. While these fuels lead to greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) theyare much cleaner when compared to coal. In order to predict the future use of these fuels R&D budgets mustbe considered. The following represents this information:
  5. 5. These budgets indicatedecreasing funds for fossil fuel R&D. Coal’s budget is nonexistent indicating its decreasing prevalence in theenergy mix. Oil and gas’s budget is decreasing but still substantial, indicating a continued reliance on thesefuels. In the year 2020 coal consumption will drop to about 4% of France’s energy supply while oil willaccount for 60% and gas 22%.Nuclear and Electricity During the 1970’s France invested in Pressurized Water Reactor (PWR) technology, which all theirreactors are today, and shifted their policy toward replacing 100% of fossil fuel technologywith nuclear energy from production by the French reactor type, UNGG (Natural Uranium, Graphite
  6. 6. moderated, Gas cooled). Cogema,a French company, controls 20% of global Uranium production. France uses about 10,500 tones of Uraniumannually, 30% of it being imported from Niger and the rest from Canada, and Australia.French nuclear reactors have proved to be some of the most economical and environmentally efficient in theworld. Standardization and mass production of nuclear facility parts has “enabled manufacturers and safetyauthorities to concentrate their resources, to shorten the plant’s construction time…. Standardizationfacilitates training and creates a steep learning curve for operating, servicing and maintenance personnel”[1].As environmental concerns and the need to decrease energy intensity came into the spotlight, nuclear energyappeared to be the best option. Unlike coal and other fossil fuel, nuclear energy releases no nitrogen orsulphur. France has one of the lowest rates of Co2 emissions in the European union at 78grams/kwh. TheMinistry of Industry reports that nuclear Power plants prevent approximately 1.7 million tons of SO2 and890,000 tons of NOX every year.Currently, the 58 nuclear power plants produce roughly 75% of the country’s
  7. 7. electricity. Its total capacity of 63,000 MWE, which allows the country to not only meet its consumptionneeds but to also increase exportation. Exportation neared 63 billion Kw/h in 1999 with a net value of 2.6billion Euros.French overall electricity exports 1990-99 (TWO)95% of the electricity produced by nuclear energy is managed by EDF (Electricite de France), one of the laststate monopolies in Europe and one of the world’s largest electric utilities. It supplies energy to over 31million people a year. In February 2000, France passed a bill allowing the deregulation of EDF in order toallow those that consume more than 16Gw/h, eventually lowering the number to 9Gw/h, annually to have fairaccess to electricity options and providers. The public sector will not be affected by this decision. [2]
  8. 8. The future of Nuclear energy in France is not precisely clear. After Germany announced their regressionaway from nuclear energy, growing opposition has formed in France. Most of the Nuclear power plants willneed to be replaced, which will require heavy investment and subsidies from the government. Maintenancecosts account for more than half of the total operating costs of nuclear facilities.Yet, contradictory to this objective, at the same time the government has announced that nuclear power plantswill not be charged an eco-tax, which will act as an incentive to use cleaner energy production.Since a majority of the electricity is supplied by nuclear power it is important to note that the future ofnuclear power will heavily weigh on the future of electricity production and consumption. EDF suppliesalmost 95% of all electricity but that will soon be decreasing. In addition, EDF’s R&D budget is graduallydecreasing; in 1989 it held at 40.3 million US dollars and 27.9 million dollars in 1999. EDF’s R & D budgetfor 1999 was 405 million Franc’s.The EU has pressured France to take the path of decentralization and liberalization. The EU has issued thatall the EU countries must open their electricity markets by 33% to competition. As of February 2003, Francehad opened up 37% of its market. However, there is still criticism. The companies now involved in France’selectricity market supply minimal amounts compared to EDF. EDF still holds competitive power and as aresult, can outbid and acquire both foreign and domestic electricity suppliers. Therefore the country will stillbe heavily dependent upon nuclear energy but nuclear energy production will be on a steady decline and so
  9. 9. will its share in the energy mix for 2020, resulting in a 9% contribution. As France continues on its course ofdecentralization and the EU insists upon further liberalization requirements, France will have to enter itsenergy and electricity market in order to allow competition.Criticism has been growing regarding the future of nuclear power and there has been a greater emphasis onrenewable energy increase, France must decide the future of its nuclear energy usage. France has twooptions; upgrade the nuclear plants that will need to be replaced or to seek other sources of energyproduction. Many of the nuclear plants will need to be replaced around 2015-2020. Currently there is noinitiative to begin construction of new plants and there have been talks to stop French production of Uraniumor at least curb the future increase of production.RenewablesSources of renewable energy have the potential to become a major component ofFrances energy mix. France took a big step in the direction of renewablestowards the end of the year 2000 with its announcement of the National EnergyEfficiency Program (PNAEE). This program sets out ambiguous goals to achievediffusion of renewable technologies into the energy market. Subsides and taxincentives are relied on to achieve these goals. The result will be adecrease in the prices of renewable energies. Increased reliance on renewables also helps in achieving thegoal of a decentralized energy sectorPNAEE seeks to achieve the goals of sustainable energy by relying on three key measures. First, priceincentives for wind-generated electricity and small-scale hydro electricity, second to utilize bio-energy, andfinally to increase the R&D budget for renewables substantially. By installing price incentives for windpower PNAEE provides the potential for wind power to reach 21% of the electricity market by 2010. Bio-energy has the potential to reach over 5% of Frances energy mix by the year 2010. This can be achieved bycontinuing installments of wood fired boilers, in 2001 there was a 20%increase in the stock of these boilers. Wood as a fuel is particularly attractive because it does not contributeto greenhouse gas emissions; therefore it is in line with the goal of sustainable energy practices. The
  10. 10. diffusion of these technologies into the market will depend on learning and increased R&D. The PNAEEprogram sees an almost 100% increase in ADEMEs budget for renewable technologies. The combination ofthese forces will result in renewable energies achieving 9% of Frances total energy consumption in the year2020.Conclusion France has three stated goals for their energy policy: security, reducing environmental impacts, andkeeping costs low. The goal of security led France in the direction of nuclear after the oil price shocks of the1970’s and 1980’s and today about 75% of electricity is provided by nuclear power. However, fears ofenvironmental impacts, economic concerns, and pressures from the EU for decentralization are leadingFrance to change the mix of their energy sources. This new energy mix is likely to feature an emphasis onrelatively cleaner fossil fuels. Oil and natural gas will be favored or coal as they contribute less to globalclimate change. Renewables will continue to diffuse into the market, but a greater pace than previously inaccordance with the new PNAEE. Bio-fuels will constitute a majority of renewable energy with significantcontributions from wind and solar energy. The energy mix of 2020 is likely to look like the following graph: French Energy Forecast
  11. 11. Gail SasseWalter RogersGG 304[1] (Introduction)[2] (Energy Status)