EU Commission proposes including gas, nuclear as clean energy sources
The European Union’s Executive Commission has issued a proposal to the bloc’s member-states to include nuclear power and gas in its green “taxonomy”, which determines a list of sectors determined to be positive in achieving carbon neutrality.

    Member-states are to respond to the proposal by 12th January, the Commission said.

    The Commission intends to publish an Act on green taxonomy in January 2022. This document is to be examined over the course of four months by the European Council, a body made up of ministers from each of the 27 member-states, as well as by the European Parliament.

    The Act goes into force unless a qualified majority of the European Council votes against it – 20 of the 27 ministers representing no less than 65 % of the population of the European Union. A simple majority of members voting against the proposal in the European Parliament (no less than 353 votes) would be sufficient to secure its rejection.

    The make-up of the approved list for climate neutrality could produce a split among EU countries.

    The inclusion of nuclear power in the green taxonomy list is championed by France and the Czech Republic (where the share of nuclear generation stands at 70.6 % and 37.3 % respectively, according to the PRIS information system on reactors compiled by the International Atomic Energy Agency) as well as Poland which intends by 2040 to bring on stream six new reactors.

   Germany – which shut down three of its six nuclear power stations in 2021 — opposes the inclusion of nuclear power as does Austria, which rejected the use of civil nuclear power in a national referendum in 1978.

    The share of nuclear power in the EU’s energy balance declined from 29 % to 25 % in the period from 2010 to 2020, according to data from the Ember research centre. The share for gas-fired generation over this period did not exceed 20 %, while the share of coal-fired generation sank from 24 % to 13 %. The combined share of solar and wind power climbed from 6 % to 20 %.

    The dynamics of power generation reflect to a great extent changes in the structure of generating capacity. Installed capacity of coal-fired stations from 2010 to 2020 declined by 15 % in Europe from 111 GW to 94 GW. The figures for nuclear power underwent a 9 % decline from 128 GW to 117 GW, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). The capacity of gas-fired stations over this period increased by 12 % (from 172 to 192 GW) and the capacity of stations operating on renewable sources more than doubled (from 144 to 392 GW, without accounting for hydropower stations).


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January 2022