Why should the 97% of non-French listeners of the podcast be interested in the fate of the French nuclear fleet?
With 60GW and 56 reactors, the French nuclear fleet is critical to the very existence of a European Power market as it represents 10%-15% of the electricity consumed on the continent and much larger share if you only account for zero carbon sources.
And its “health” is a key component of Europe’s Security of Supply and Energy price levels. Furthermore, beyond Europe, a well-functioning French nuclear fleet reduces the need for LNG imports.
20 years ago, EDF was the most powerful utility in the world, producing 420TWh of carbon free power and about to be privatised to reach a 200bnEUR valuation. 20 years later, plagued by debt, major outages, financial losses, and poorly timed government interventions, EDF had to re-nationalised.
Rather than relitigate the past or engage into sterile discussions about whether nuclear is THE solution, A solution or NOT A solution, we have to live with simple facts: a) for the past 30 years, French nuke has been the backbone of the whole European Energy system b) it almost imploded in 2022 (half of the fleet down at some point) as the worst possible moment: when Russia invaded Ukraine.
Going forward, can Europe still rely on the French nuke fleet for Security of Supply? Can nuclear continue to provide cheap power or will it become uncompetitive? How does nuclear cope with an increasingly volatile power markets where the key word is now “Flexibility”?
We bring in a Breton sailor, Emeric de Vigan. Emeric is a former trader at EDF Energy where he oversaw the short-term power trading of the entire nuclear fleet. He is now head of KPler Energy, a leading subscription-based data and analytics platform delivering real-time market intelligence for diverse commodities and their transportation.
In summary, Emeric really knows what he is talking about.
With Gerard and Laurent, Emeric delivers a dispassionate, clinical, and sometimes technical conversation about the future of the French nuclear fleet.
PS: after the recording of this episode, EDF and the French government found an agreement on the price of power for the current nuclear fleet: 70EUR/MWh (vs 42EUR/MWh under ARENH)
If you want to know more about the current political and economic conundrum about French nuclear, please read this excellent presentation by Yves Marignac, Institut Negawatt
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