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France's renewable energy potential

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 

A report by ADEME, a French government agency under the Ministries of Ecology and Research, shows that a 100% renewable electricity supply by 2050 in France is feasible and would cost hardly any more than a mix of 50% nuclear, 40% renewables, and 10% fossil fuels (primarily gas).

The 119-page report is the result of 14 months of detailed research, and examines the feasibility and costs of several different models ranging from a 40% reliance on renewables by 2050 up to 100% reliance.

For an all-renewables scenario, the report proposes an ideal electricity mix: 63% from wind, 17% from solar, 13% from hydro and 7% from renewable thermal sources (including geothermal energy).

To match supply and demand (and deal with intermittency), the report proposes demand management (electric cars, for example, charging and discharging), import/export, short-term storage (batteries and compressed air installations, for example), pumped-storage hydro, and power-to-gas-to-power technologies (hydrogen/methane).

The report estimates that the electricity production cost would be 119 euros per megawatt-hour in the all-renewables scenario, compared with a near-identical figure of 117 euros per MWh with a mix of 50% nuclear, 40% renewables, and 10% fossil fuels. The current average cost is 91 euros per MWh.

Damien Siess, ADEME's deputy director for production and sustainable energy, noted that renewable energy sources are currently more expensive than nuclear, but the cost of renewables is falling while the cost of nuclear is increasing, mainly because of the safety standards required for new reactors such as the EPR.

The full report (in French):

L'Agence de l'Environnement et de la Maîtrise de l'Energie (ADEME), 2015, 'Vers un mix électrique 100% renouvelable en 2050',

English language summary:

Terje Osmundsen, 20 April 2015,

Meanwhile, a new report by the China National Renewable Energy Centre finds that China could generate 85% of its electricity and 60% of total energy from renewables by 2050.


Report: 'China high renewables 2050 roadmap − summary',