French Reactor Halts May Triple Renewables Spending, BNEF Says

France will need to almost triple investment in renewable energy if the nation’s oldest nuclear reactors are phased out, said Manon Dufour, an analyst in London at Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

Socialist challenger Francois Hollande, whose lead over President Nicolas Sarkozy has narrowed in the polls, has committed to closing French reactors after 40 years of service.

“An additional 102 billion euros ($136 billion) would need to be invested in renewable capacity in replacement,” Dufour said in a report published today. BNEF’s baseline forecast for French renewable investment is 60 billion euros.

France gets more of its power from nuclear plants than any other country. A third of the nation’s 58-reactor fleet has been operating for more than 30 years and would close in the next decade if their operations were capped at 40 years, BNEF said. That would wipe out 26 gigawatts by 2025 and 46 gigawatts by 2030, it said in the report.

Electricite de France SA operates 95 percent of French electricity generation and closing aging nuclear reactors would reduce this market share to 59 percent by 2025, BNEF said.

Hollande wants to reduce France’s dependence on nuclear to 50 percent of power production from about 75 percent, and has committed to close the Fessenheim atomic plant, EDF’s oldest, within five years if he’s elected. The presidential elections will be held on May 6.

To contact the reporter on this story: Rachel Morison in London at rmorison@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Lars Paulsson at lpaulsson@bloomberg.net

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