Are the energy choices in the programs of the 10 main presidential candidates (Dupont-Aignan, Hidalgo, Jadot, Le Pen, Macron, Mélenchon, Pécresse, Roussel, Taubira, Zemmour) in terms of electricity, gas, and nuclear energy relevant for companies and the French ?
By Michel GAY
Energy and demagogy
Energy is the foundation of any economy. Its massive and cheap production to meet the demand of industry and individuals (electricity, heat, transport,…) is its vital core.
This fundamental production requires available energy resources (uranium, oil, gas, coal, biomass, wind, sun, etc.), raw materials (copper, nickel, lithium, etc.), and must limit environmental nuisances (greenhouse gas emissions, pollution, etc.).
If the orientations announced by these 10 candidates in the field of energies contain a lot of great demagogic generalities, incantations sometimes incoherent, and letters to Santa Claus (Hidalgo, Jadot, Mélenchon,…), there are also some choices of society.
Five candidates (Macron, Pécresse, Roussel, Zemmour, Le Pen) are clearly in favor of nuclear energy, and three of them (Macron, Pécresse and Roussel) are, unfortunately, also in favor of renewable energies, especially wind power, probably more out of political expediency to “win over a large audience” than out of technical conviction.
Only three candidates (Dupont-Aignan, Le Pen, and Zemmour) are clearly hostile to wind turbines.
Only one candidate (Le Pen) also mentions the end of subsidies to solar panels, which squander several billion euros of public money each year in France for a tiny and intermittent production.
Another candidate (Taubira) proposes a referendum on nuclear power, which would allow the whole media-ecological-antinuclear sphere to pour out their bile as usual and to go on a rampage to spoil the preliminary debates in order to scare the French.
Make your choice!
In the appendix, you will find the main proposals of the candidates in the field of energy, which is the basis of all activity and production of wealth.
It is distressing and worrying to note that most of them do not have clear ideas on the technical, ecological, geostrategic, and social consequences of their choices on a subject so crucial for the future of France and the French.
Some proposals (Jadot, Mélenchon, Taubira) are even technically and economically unrealistic, without any basis in reality.
These indigent programs in the field of energy with 3 or 4 exceptions (Le Pen, Pécresse, Roussel, Zemmour) are based on the ruinous and ill-considered development of randomly variable or intermittent renewable energies (wind and solar).
They are the image of the French political class: of a distressing mediocrity.
Energy-focused excerpts from the programs of 10 candidates
(In alphabetical order)
1) Nicolas DUPONT-AIGNAN
Reduction of our electricity bills, by financing a large thermal insulation plan using the aids and incentives currently reserved for wind turbines.
Zero wind turbines installed in five years.
2) Anne HIDALGO
Development of a 5-year plan to decarbonize the economy.
Accompany everyone in the end of the use of fossil fuels. Shift from a consumption economy to a repair economy, moving without damaging.
Objective: carbon neutrality in 2050 and have Parliament vote each year on a national carbon budget.
Put an end to public subsidies to harmful activities (fossil fuels, pesticides, etc.).
A rapid exit from nuclear power.
Establishment of a wealth tax in order to make the wealthiest people contribute to financing the energy transition. Investments linked to fossil fuels will be overtaxed.
Lowering taxes on fuel (VAT at 5.5%).
Environmental taxation will be endowed with a Climate Golden Rule to ensure transparency and relevance of uses: 50% for expenses accelerating the ecological transition and 50% for social measures in favor of households particularly impacted by the transformation of our lifestyles or already in social difficulty.
3) Yannick JADOT
Development of a large renovation sector with the objective of creating 200,000 jobs.
4) Marine LE PEN
Construction of 6 EPRs, reopening of Fessenheim and relaunch of the Astrid program.
Rely on hydrogen.
Stop subsidies to intermittent energies such as wind and photovoltaic to save 6 to 7 billion euros per year.
Putting a moratorium on all wind turbine construction and gradually dismantling them.
Lowering the VAT on fuel (to 5.5%) and on gas and electricity.
5) Emmanuel MACRON
The orientations of the President of the Republic Emmanuel Macron “future candidate” are contained in his speech of December 8, 2020 in Le Creusot in which he stressed the fundamental character of the nuclear industry for the independence of France, both in the fields of energy and climate as well as national sovereignty.
He seems to have understood that nuclear power is France’s best asset in economic, industrial and ecological terms. However, he remains “at the same time” for renewable energies which he does not renounce.
He has spoken out on the construction of the new EPR reactor and on the “small” nuclear SMR (Small Modular Reactor) project, called “Nuward” in France.
However, with the current President, words and deeds are rarely in agreement. It is the fuzzy principle of “at the same time”.
“I want nuclear and at the same time renewable!”.
“While it is very difficult to say today which will be the best technology to replace our existing nuclear fleet in 2035, we must therefore look at all the possible fields.
We must first study the technical feasibility of an electricity mix with a very high level of renewable energies.
6) Jean-Luc MÉLENCHON
Ensure the insulation of at least 700,000 homes per year.
Reduce the ecological impact: develop the construction of wood, earth and straw.
To condition the obtaining of ecological labels to concrete energy results.
Reverse the liberalization of the electricity and gas market: stop the privatization of hydroelectric dams, create a public energy pole by renationalizing EDF and Engie and in conjunction with local cooperatives.
Introduce a progressive pricing of energy and guarantee free access to the first quantities essential for a dignified life.
Cancel the liberalization of the electricity and gas market: stop the privatization of hydroelectric dams, create a public energy pole in connection with local cooperatives by renationalizing EDF and Engie.
Cancel the increases in gas rates since 2017.
Get out of nuclear power: abandon the EPR and nuclear waste burial projects, plan the dismantling of the Fessenheim plant.
Establish a single collective agreement for nuclear workers and stop the massive use of subcontracting, while guaranteeing their retraining as the plants are closed.
Put an end to situations of energy insecurity: give priority to complete renovations, prohibit the renting of thermal flats, and strengthen programs to detect energy flats.
Plan for 100% renewable energy with a dual focus on energy efficiency and sobriety by 2050.
Get out of carbon-based energies: stop subsidizing fossil fuels, including abroad.
Develop marine renewable energies (MRE) within the framework of the energy transition plan and public control of installations and networks: refuse to abandon the marine energy sector and ensure its industrial development by nationalizing Alstom’s Marine Energies branch, sold to General Electric, and Areva’s wind power branch, sold to Siemens.
Raise France’s climate ambitions with the objective of reducing emissions by 65% by 2030 and make an annual report public.
Requiring companies to implement carbon accounting for direct and indirect emissions certified by an approved public body.
Introduce customs duties based on ecological criteria (carbon emissions, pollution, etc.).
7) Valérie PÉCRESSE
Merging the Livret A with the Livret Développement Durable to put the resources of the Livret A at the service of the ecological transition, since between them they represent nearly 469 billion euros.
Decarbonize transport: Objective 2035 for all new vehicles to no longer consume fossil fuels, not only cars, but also trucks, buses, trains, two-wheelers, boats, small planes (and 50% sustainable biofuels in the largest planes).
Simplify the laws to prevent the courts from cancelling major rail transport projects after years of consultation, even though they are of ecological interest.
Remove the VAT from the electricity tax.
Reforming the regulated tariff so that consumers benefit fully from the competitiveness of nuclear energy.
Revisit the commercial costs of the operators, which are swelling with the energy saving certificates.
Put under control the electricity transport network which is not transparent about its costs which are exploding, even though RTE is a public company.
Increase the amount of energy sold by EDF to the competition.
Electrify uses to reduce hydrocarbon imports.
Reinvest in nuclear power, renovate our facilities, take up the industrial challenge of the EPR, consider the possibility of small modular reactors.
Relaunch the Astrid reactor project.
To push forward investments in nuclear safety as well as a policy of control and irreproachable transparency.
To relaunch the technological projects that will make it possible to limit nuclear waste and to store it.
To propose a decision to Parliament on the waste disposal center, awaited for so many years, after so many public debates.
Use nuclear power to create green hydrogen.
Switch to 2nd generation biofuels for the planes of the future, develop bio methane.
Support biomass heating systems in rural areas and district heating from geothermal energy.
Launch a major plan for the use of clean hydrogen, which must be one of the priorities of the future.
Develop small-scale hydroelectricity, photovoltaic and wind power in parallel with nuclear power. For wind energy, we must involve the inhabitants and establish protection zones for our remarkable natural areas and fishing zones.
Diversify our energy sources by continuing to invest in storage (dams, batteries, etc.) and research / experimentation on hydrogen. However, renewable energies must respect the landscape, the support of local populations and ensure that these energies are not inflationary, there is too little transparency and the remuneration of operators must be better controlled.
Develop financial incentives rather than taxes to decarbonize household consumption (replacement of polluting vehicles or boilers).
8) Fabien ROUSSEL
For an energy mix with nuclear and renewable energy. The priority is to do without fossil fuels.
9) Christiane TAUBIRA
Concentrate all French and European aid for investment and research to accelerate the ecological transition of companies: decarbonization, new mobilities, digital energy sobriety… This support will go to companies that relocate and produce in France.
Referendum on the question of nuclear power: It is a non-carbon energy, it is a transitional response, but its share must decrease and it is urgent to do more for renewable energies. This subject must be decided by the French.
10) Eric ZEMMOUR
For the development of nuclear power.
Prohibit all new wind turbine construction projects and freeze current projects. Redirect public support for wind and solar energy to thermal renewables.
Lower taxes on fuels.
*The original version of this article was published on Le Monde de l’Energie.
Text written by Michel Gay