According to French General Commission on Sustainable Development (CGDD) data, France’s solar PV capacity was up to 3,923MW at the end of September (2012). There was a 241 MW increase in solar power capacity in Q3 of 2012, 34% higher than Q3 2011. Over 1,ooo MW of solar were added in the first 9 months of this year. Unfortunately, that amounted to a 24% decrease from what was installed in the first 9 months of 2011. Hopefully the Q3 increase is a sign of a shift. Up through Sept 30, France has seen “25,529 new grid connected PV installations, domestically and internationally, with 18,063 of those installations at less than or equal to 3kW of power” this year.
But here’s perhaps some even bigger news — sister clean energy technology wind has now become cheaper than nuclear in France. Anyone familiar with the energy industry should know that France is a (if not the) nuclear leader of the world. If even its nuclear is now more expensive than wind energy, well, I think you know what that means.
“Liberation reports that for the second time in a little more than a year the cost of a new reactor under construction at Flamanville, France has risen dramatically,” Paul Gipe of Wind-Works.org writes.
Originally scheduled to be completed this year for a cost of €3.3 billion, the cost of the European Pressurized Reactor (EPR) doubled in 2011 to €6 billion and completion was delayed until 2016.
Constructors Areva and Electricité de France (EDF) have announced the cost has again risen, now to €8.5 billion ($10.6 billion) for the 1,650 MW reactor.
Similar cost overruns and completion delays have plagued Areva’s EPR reactor under construction in Finland. Originally planned for operation in 2009, the Finnish reactor’s start date has been extended to 2015, six years behind schedule.
A clean energy transition must involve solar and wind energy, but nuclear doesn’t fit too well with those due to its long start-up and shut-down times. It’s hard to imagine anyone in their right mind (and not corrupt) getting behind nuclear at this point.