France Adopts Nuclear Cap, Carbon Tax Increase, and More

The French Parliament on July 22 finally adopted a law that caps nuclear power generation capacity at its current 63.2 GW. The measure will force utility EDF to shutter nuclear reactors before it starts up its EPR under construction at Flamanville.

Most of the long-delayed energy transition bill’s targets were first adopted in a first reading in October 2014—following more than a year of national consultations, draft bills, and parliamentary debate. The result, as Ségolène Royal, France’s ecology and energy minister, told reporters: “5,034 amendments were submitted in the public hearing, of which 970 have been adopted, during 150 hours of debate, preceded by several hundreds of hours of work in the committees.”

The so-called “Royal bill” is broad and ambitious. Along with the nuclear cap, it seeks to cut France’s greenhouse gas emissions by 40% between 1990 and 2030, to halve the country’s energy usage by 2050, to slash the share of fossil fuels in energy production 30% compared to 2012 levels, and to increase the share of renewables up to 32% of the energy mix.

Last-minute additions to the bill included amendments to increase the carbon tax on fossil fuel use to €56 per ton in 2020, a four-fold increase, and to €100 in 2030.

—Sonal Patel, associate editor