Low-carbon options for the French power sector: What role for renewables, nuclear energy and carbon capture and storage?

Low-carbon options for the French power sector: What role for renewables, nuclear energy and carbon capture and storage?

Shirizadeh B., Quirion P.


Abstract

In the wake of the Paris agreement, France has set a target of zero net greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. This target can only be achieved by rapidly decreasing the proportion of fossil fuels and accelerating the deployment of low-carbon technologies. We develop a detailed model of the power sector to investigate the role of different low- and negative-emission technologies in the French electricity mix and we identify the impact of the relative cost of these technologies for various values of the social cost of carbon (SCC).

We show that for a wide range of SCC values (from 0 to €500/tCO2), the optimal power mix consists of roughly 75% of renewable power. For a SCC value of €100/tCO2, the power sector becomes nearly carbon neutral while for €200/tCO2 and more it provides negative emissions. The availability of negative emission technologies can decrease the system cost by up to 18% and can create up to 20MtCO2/year of negative emissions, while the availability of new nuclear power stations is much less important. This study demonstrates the importance of an effective SCC value (as a tax for positive emissions and remuneration for negative emissions) in reaching carbon neutrality at moderate cost. Negative emissions may represent an important carbon market which could attract investments if supported by public policies.

AddendumA Response to Dominique Finon about our two recent articles: “How sensitive are optimal fully renewable power systems to technology cost uncertainties” & « Low-carbon options for the French power sector »

Citation: Shirizadeh B., Quirion P. Low-carbon options for the French power sector: What role for renewables, nuclear energy and carbon capture and storage? Energy Economics (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10584-020-02899-9