EU face backlash over labelling 'green energy sources'
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At the end of last year, the European Commission unveiled draft green proposal for nuclear and gas power plants aimed at facilitate the financing of facilities that contribute to the fight against climate change. This “taxonomy” defines areas of investment that will benefit from green labels. The European Commission sent its hotly-discussed text, which has been under consideration at is still at the provisional stage, to its 27 member states on December 31.
This details the conditions, including a time limit, for the construction of new nuclear power plants.
For this to be achieved, projects are required to have obtained a building permit by 2045.
But the aim from the EU to achieve carbon neutrality in 2050 will likely man mammoth multi-billion euro investments will have to be made.
Thierry Breton, the European Commissioner for the Internal Market, warned it is “crucial” to include nuclear power in the green taxonomy.
However, he has estimated the new generation of European nuclear power plants will require an investment of “500 billion by 2050” in a staggering assessment.
The French commissioner said in an interview with Journal du dimanche: “Existing nuclear power plants alone will require €50 billion of investment by 2030, and 500 billion by 2050 for those of new generation!”
He also said “including nuclear in the taxonomy is therefore crucial to enable the sector to attract all the capital it will need”.
Mr Breton estimated: “The ecological transition will lead to an industrial revolution on an unprecedented scale.
“A race for capital between the various energy sources – renewable energies alone, for example, will have to mobilise €65 billion in investments per year.
“And we will have to add to that 45 billion euros of annual investment to build additional network infrastructure.”
Just over a quarter (26 percent) of electricity currently produced in the EU is of atomic origin.
Mr Breton has estimated nuclear power will represent at least 15 percent of the total energy mix in 2050.
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The subject of nuclear energy has sparked lively debate among the 27 EU member states over recent months.
A dozen of those countries, led by France, have been actively promoting nuclear power.
But some EU nations, including the likes of Germany and Austria, have remained largely tight-lipped over it.
Additional reporting by Maria Ortega.
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