National Rally leader Marine Le Pen promised to halt subsidies for solar and wind power and take apart wind farms if she wins the French presidential election in April.
Marine Le Pen lost to Emmanuel Macron in the 2017 French presidential election runoff. The leader of the National Rally is running the campaign again for the vote scheduled for April next year with a controversial promise: she says she would take down all the wind power plants in the country.
Moreover, the far-right candidate declared she would abolish subsidies for wind and solar parks, arguing they are intermittent and “not renewable.” Le Pen added the incentives cost taxpayers and consumers EUR 6 billion to EUR 7 billion per year.
“If I am elected, I will start a major project to prevent the construction of new wind farms and dismantle the old ones,” she told RTL. Marine Le Pen instead proposed investments in the construction of nuclear power plants and the refurbishment of the existing facilities of the kind, which produce up to three quarters of France’s electricity.
Lights out without wind power
President Emmanuel Macron unveiled a plan this week to support the development of so-called small modular reactors or SMRs with EUR 1 billion over the next five years as part of a wider, EUR 30 billion package which includes renewables, electric transportation and green hydrogen. Le Pen also endorsed the new kind of nuclear technology.
Démonter le parc éolien, c’est nous priver d’au moins 8% de notre production d’électricité alors que notre consommation va augmenter de 20% d’ici 2035.
A moins que M. Le Pen sache construire des centrales nucléaires en moins de 10 ans (non), elle nous conduirait au black-out. https://t.co/PgEgIHsREm
— Barbara Pompili (@barbarapompili) October 14, 2021
Minister of the Ecological Transition Barbara Pompili was quick to react. “Dismantling wind parks means depriving us of at least 8% of our electricity production, while our consumption will increase by 20% by 2035. Unless… Le Pen knows how to build nuclear power plants in less than 10 years (not), it would lead us to a blackout,” she wrote on Twitter.
France leans on nuclear energy
France and Poland are leading a group of eight more European Union member states that want nuclear power to be recognized as a green technology, which would open the way for subsidies and more private investment. They argued renewables can’t provide enough electricity for the energy transition away from fossil fuels and stressed nuclear energy offers a stable and low-carbon supply, pointing also to the damage from the ongoing global energy crisis.
The administration in Brussels hasn’t so far offered a decisive response to the spike in prices of fossil fuels and electricity. After outlining its stance, the European Commission cited its existing rules, told member countries they can introduce measures to protect the most vulnerable consumers and reiterated that it would come up with solutions to prevent market manipulation.
The role of fossil gas in the energy transition, especially Russian gas, is also yet to be defined within the EU.