I agree that wind and nuclear energy are not intrinsically opposed to each other (see 20 July 2009: France shows it’s possible to support wind and nuclear). However, France only has wind power because it’s forced to by the European Union. EDF (and I’ve spoken to people who work there, including at their power plants) and the French in general, have almost no interest in wind power. EDF is forced to pay even individuals up to $20 US per kWhr. Therefore, of course, anyone and everyone wants to get this feeding from the public trough.
With their already large nuclear share of power and more hydro from their alpine units, France has already passed what they are required to in terms of CO2. For wind to become part of this, it needs these insanely high tariffs. If they disappear, then see how much wind power there will be.
David Walters, 23 July 2009
I’m afraid you are right that EDF aren’t interested in wind power – hence their call for the UK government to have a lower wind target and a higher nuclear one. I don’t know about the French population more generally. However, there is less vocal opposition to wind farms in France than in the UK, but that’s not the same as actual interest. And I completely agree that it’s the EU target that has made France act on renewables.
The EU doesn’t have enough relevant powers over energy, but targets are useful, if they’re good. Sadly, the EU biofuels target isn’t good because it doesn’t require biofuels to be low carbon, so member states (including France and UK) are actually making things worse in following the target.