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(See section below on Nuclear technology exports for further information.) Following the election of President Francois Hollande in 2012 with his policy to reduce the proportion of nuclear power in the energy mix, a new wide ‘national debate on energy transition’ was called, which ran eight months to July 2013.
The Ministry for Ecology Sustainable Development and Energy counted 170,000 people taking part in 1000 regional debates, and received 1200 submissions over the Internet.
In 2015 electricity production was 568 TWh (gross), and of this nuclear provided 437 TWh, hydro 59 TWh, coal and gas 32 TWh, and solar and wind 29 TWh.
After net exports of 64 TWh, total electricity consumption came to 422 TWh, about 6,300 k Wh per capita on average. Over the last decade France has exported up to 70 TWh net each year and Electricité de France (Ed F) expects net exports to continue at 55-70 TWh/yr.
It also set out research policy for developing innovative energy technologies consistent with reducing carbon dioxide emissions and it defined the role of renewable energies in the production of electricity, in thermal uses and transport.
Early in 2008 a Presidential decree established a top-level Nuclear Policy Council (Conseil Politique Nucleaire – CPN), underlining the importance of nuclear technologies to France in terms of economic strength, notably power supply.
In November 2014 the government froze the price at €42 to mid-2015.
In October 2016 the government postponed until after the 2017 presidential and National Assembly elections any decision on which, if any, reactors would close in order to reduce the nuclear share to 50%.
It is chaired by the President and includes the prime minister as well as the cabinet secretaries in charge of energy, foreign affairs, economy, industry, foreign trade, research and finance.
The head of the Atomic Energy Commission (CEA), the secretary general of national defence and the military chief of staff are on the council.
This set a target of 50% for nuclear contribution to electricity supply by 2025, with a nuclear power capacity cap at the present level of 63.2 GWe, meaning that EDF would have to shut at least 1,650 GW of nuclear capacity when its Flamanville 3 EPR starts commercial operation.
The bill also sets long-term targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2030 compared with 1990 levels, and by 75% by 2050; to halve final energy consumption by 2050 compared with 2012 levels; to reduce fossil fuel consumption by 30% by 2030 relative to 2012; and to increase the share of renewables in final energy consumption to 32% by 2030.