L R AS Published on Sunday 4 February 2024 - n° 474 - Categories:PV Watch

A look at the President of the Republic's change of heart

Three months ago, the talk was all about ecology, climate protection and protecting the global climate. In the space of a few weeks, and without warning, the President of the Republic has adopted the opposite position, irritating the opinion of renewable energy professionals who no longer understand what is going on and no longer know what the future of photovoltaics in France will be. For them, the shock is harsh, but nothing calls into question the development of photovoltaics.

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Summary :

The lack of understanding of the President's remarksEnergy professionals were surprised by the reversal in French energy policy.

The new Prime Minister was expected to correct the President's thinking.The new Prime Minister was expected to rectify the President's thinking, but this has not happened, and professionals are worried.

What does the President of the Republic really think? This lack of clarity hampers the understanding of decisions

This lack of perception prevents us from putting things into perspectiveThere is a huge gap between the President's decision and the prevailing opinion (that of ecology).

This overlooks a number of facts and, above all, long-term trends! The President cannot go against the times, against EDF's difficulties in relaunching the sector, or against the successive improvements in photovoltaics.

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The text:

The President's misunderstandings

The President of the Republic's change of policy has been brutal and is a violent slap in the face for ecologists and environmentalists.

Over the last few years, there had only been support for climate protection, for the defence of biodiversity, for the protection of the 1.5 degree increase in global temperature compared with the pre-industrial period. In the face of all this public, media and omnipresent hype, there was no longer any room for a calm examination of the situation.

So much so that the President of the Republic even once said that he was fed up with ecological and environmental standards. Although everything such a person says is generally scrutinised, examined, commented on and repeated, this "outing" was not.However, this 'outing' was not, because everyone remained on a single track, that of a one-way speech in defence of the climate, nature and the weather.

The new Prime Minister was expected to rectify the President's thinking.

Some were hoping that the new Prime Minister would adopt a more 'ecological' attitude. They were disappointed by the omissions, by the minimal references, by the absence of any presentation of the law revising the multiannual energy programme, despite the fact that it is provided for in the 2021 "climate and resilience" law. In short, energy and the climate have been forgotten, which is a legitimate cause for concern for the industry. How could we expect anything else from a Prime Minister chosen for his unwavering adherence to the opinion of the President of the Republic and his loyalty to his policies? Gabriel Attal was clearly in line with the President.

What does the President of the Republic really think?

What would be important to determine is the extent to which environmental and climate concerns have been rejected in the President's mind. It could be that he's simply saturated with these hackneyed comments! There may be a conviction that climate change will be so costly that it is preferable to leave its management to his successor. There could also be the conviction that renewable energies are irresistible and that it would be better to try to counterbalance them with nuclear energy! It could simply be that by reducing the proportion of renewable energies in what he says, he will limit the need to resort to legislation or even to the inclusion of renewable energies in the constitution, which is becoming a mere catalogue of what is needed.This is a catalogue not of the organisation of public life, but of categorical political will, where any opinion must be made intangible!

This perception is lacking, which makes it impossible to put things into perspective.

As long as we have not determined the reason for the President's attitude, we can be worried, we can have the impression that the sky is falling, that the firmest beliefs are being overturned, that we are losing a compass, a certainty, a reason for living...

Yet this questioning of the President's thinking seems to be absent from a number of commentators, who confine themselves to comparing the President's or Prime Minister's opinion with their own, or with the prevailing opinion to date.

This ignores a number of facts and, above all, long-term trends!

What is the value of the President's thinking in the light of major economic trends? What is the value of the desire to develop nuclear energy if it turns out to be much more expensive than renewable energy? Is it certain that the new nuclear reactors EDF wants will be operational by 2035? That their budget will be respected? It's a big gamble that the President of the Republic is taking, but one that he won't be able to live with (if it fails, of course) because he will no longer be in office.

Who's to say that perovskite-silicon tandem cells won't come into their own within the next four years and increase the efficiency of solar panels by a third, crushing kilowatt-hour prices and then disqualifying the budget prepared for nuclear power stations? Over the next five years, new discoveries will improve efficiency. There are already indoor perovskite panels (cf. Solar Companies) that will replace part of the electricity, making electric current less necessary.

So there are two alternatives to this presidential decision: either he has made the right choice, since nuclear power provides a base load supplemented by renewable energies, or he has made a mistake. We won't have to wait very long (the next President of the Republic) to realise that his choice was wrong.

You have to know how to put situations into perspective, even when they are the least favourable, in order to understand them properly. Unfortunately, with all the news and instant messages on our tablets, we're forgetting the quality and importance of time.

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