France to become Europe's biggest energy exporter

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11 December 2014, Nuclear, Solar, Wind

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Nuclear remains the bedrock of France's power generation portfolio. In 2014, 407TWh of electricity will be generated by nuclear (75.4% of total energy production). By 2030, nuclear power will decline marginally but still account for 64.7% of total energy production. The slight decrease in nuclear power generation will be caused by the closure of Fessenheim 1 and 2 (1,760MW) in 2016 and Bugey 2, 3, and 4 (2,700MW) in 2029.

Hydro power and conventional thermal power generation still play a key role in French energy production. In 2014 nearly 13% of total production is derived from hydro and 6.4% from coal, natural gas, and petroleum. Hydro power is expected to remain between 68-70TWh per year over the next 17 years.

France has placed a great deal of focus on reducing coal power generation over the last five years, and usage is projected to decline further from 10.5TWh in 2014 to 3.9TWh by 2030. The majority of coal plant shutdowns will happen in the next two years as France adheres to the EU's Large Combustion Plant Directive Opt-Out regulation. 10 coal plants are anticipated to close in 2014 and 2015, totaling 2,440MW of lost capacity. Nevertheless, natural gas will continue to play a significant role in France's power generation capabilities, and power output is forecast to more than treble from 16.7TWh in 2014 to 51.4TWh by 2030. Natural gas power capacity is projected to increase from 10,500MW to 19,400MW over the same period.

Renewable energy is another growing segment in France's power generation portfolio. Power generation from wind, bioenergy, solar, and geothermal technologies is projected to increase from 29.5TWh in 2014 to 80.0TWh by 2030. But France's continued prioritization of nuclear power means that it has already deferred some renewable energy plans, particularly costly offshore wind plants. Despite countries such as Japan and Germany opting to phase out nuclear, France clearly sees its benefits - not least of which is the significant profits the country makes from selling excess nuclear energy abroad. / / @DatamonitorEN

Source: MarketLine

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