France produces enough energy to export to all its European neighbors and it does so without giving up being the greenest
It is the largest energy producer in Europe and it is also the country with the cleanest energy. France is the great reference in the reduction of emissions, to the point that 95% of its production is low in CO₂ emissions.
A strength in the energy sector that helps both Spain and the rest of neighboring countries, including Germany. France is the world’s largest net exporter of electricity and get more than 3,000 million euros a year thanks to that.
France is a leader in production and emission reduction
The tool ElectricityMap allows you to easily visualize how the energy production of each country is, what is the carbon intensity, what is the origin of the energy produced by each country and what is the cross-border export between each country. The data is updating, but the leadership of France is clear.
In all of Europe, the only large country that appears light green is France. Smaller countries like Switzerland, Belgium, Austria and the Nordic countries follow. like Norway and Sweden, which do outperform France in terms of emission reductions, although they produce much less energy.
France exporting carbon-free energy to half of Europe pic.twitter.com/b7dfNUy1P3
– Kike (@kikelt_) June 10, 2021
France’s production is above 40 GW, with a footprint of 40 gCO₂eq/kWh. In comparison, Spain emits about 217 gCO₂eq / kWh, without reaching 20 GW. Germany’s production is close to that of France, but with a footprint of 284 gCO₂eq / kWh, derived mainly from its high percentage of coal-based production.
The cross-border export between France and Spain at the time of writing is 2,517 MW, with a carbon intensity of 40 gCO₂eq / kWh. This not only implies that we receive energy from France, but that it comes from cleaner sources.
ElectricityMap allows us to compare the different countries. If we go to Sweden, one of the benchmarks in low emissions, we see that hydropower is its main source of production, although it does not reach 10 GW.
The case of Germany is also very interesting. It has a very high footprint because coal is its main source, but it is a country with more than 50% coming from renewable energy. Namely, Germany doesn’t have as many low-emission sources, but most of those it does have are renewable.
On the other side of the scale, there are cases like Poland, with more than 700 gCO₂eq / kWh and a production practically centered on coal, making it one of the most polluting countries in Europe.
The reason is well known: the big bet on nuclear energy
When comparing France and Spain it is easy to see where the secret lies. Nuclear power accounts for 77% of France’s electricity consumption. Thanks to its 58 atomic reactors, France stands out especially in the production of low-emission energy despite the fact that its percentage of renewable energies is lower than that of Spain.
The aim of the French government is reduce the share of nuclear power to 50% by 2035, but for the moment, their commitment to this nuclear energy has placed them by far at the head of Europe.
In the background there is a great debate about the role that nuclear energy should adopt in the battle for the climate emergency. Nuclear power is clean and low in emissions, but Can we speak of nuclear as “green energy”? What may seem like a semantic debate is much deeper, since it depends on where nuclear energy is located, it will be included within the framework of the aid.
In a letter issued to the European Commission In March 2021, the presidents of France, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia defended the role of nuclear power in the fight against climate change.