Boston, MA -- (ReleaseWire) -- 08/31/2012 -- BMI View: Nuclear generation remains the first choice for the French power industry, but there are challenges ahead. Despite having softened his stance, Mr. Hollande's scepticism about nuclear power presents downside risks for the industry in France, and especially for state controlled EdF. Furthermore, we note that Mr. Hollande's victory might also mean changes in the management of EdF, especially since Mr. Proglio, chairman of EdF, was an open supporter of Mr. Sarkozy. On a more positive note, interest in renewables remains strong with a number of initiatives in the pipeline.
Key trends and developments in the British electricity market include:
- BMI estimates that French power generation in 2011 rose by 0.62% year-on-year (y-o-y), to stand at 542.28 terawatt hours (TWh). Overall thermal generation looks to have fallen by around 2.76%, in spite of gains in natural gas, which grew by an estimated 1.63% y-o-y. At the same time coal's contribution to power generation has fallen by an estimated 6.89%. Hydroelectric generation is also estimated to have declined by 3.79%. BMI estimates that the use of nonhydro renewables grew by 7.31% in 2011.
- Despite having softened his stance, Mr. Hollande's scepticism about nuclear power presents downside risks for the industry in France, and especially for state controlled EdF. Furthermore, we note that Mr. Hollande's victory might also mean changes in the management of EdF , especially since Mr. Proglio, chairman of EDF, was a prominent supporter of Mr. Sarkozy.
- There have been positive developments in the French wind sector in recent months. A consortium led by EdF, and including turbine-maker Alstom, has won three of the five development zones up for grabs in France's first offshore wind tender. In addition, Nicole Bricq, Minister of Ecology, Energy, and Sustainable Development, expressed her support for wind power and promised she would ensure that new wind turbines projects proceed.
- The publication of the Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN)'s review of France's nuclear power plants in January 2012 has brought mixed news for the sector. While the ASN confirms that no nuclear plants need to be decommissioned for safety reasons, it does make a series of recommendations to improve the security of nuclear plants in France, which will cost around EUR10bn to implement.
- GDF Suez, through its subsidiary Eole Generation, has announced it will install and operate tidal stream devices at Raz Blanchard in Lower Normandy and the Passage du Fromveur off the Finistere coast in Brittany. These will be operational from 2015 and the firm aims to become a leading player in French marine energy.
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