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Nuclear and green?

The leak of the draft of the European Commission to establish nuclear energy and gas with the green rating has generated an intense and absurd controversy. Nuclear energy generates radioactive waste whose life is infinite. Its economic cost is also infinite and the new nuclear power plants produce electricity four times more expensive than wind and solar. The gas that generates electricity by burning a fossil fuel with polluting emissions is not sustainable either.

The Commission's proposal has a very solid and realistic data and analysis base to adapt the energy transition to the new reality after the gas crisis in 2021. We already know that the transition is necessary, but it will have significant social costs. Therefore, the objective is twofold; reduce emissions and mitigate climate change, with the lowest possible social cost.

Mathematically, when there are two objectives and they conflict, there are infinite possible optimal combinatorics that in complex and democratic societies are resolved politically, in the best sense of politics. Europe is a confederation that is slowly moving towards a federal model and decision-making is particularly complex and that is how the Commission's proposal must be understood. France produces most of its electricity with nuclear power. Macron has promised to prioritize investment in renewables but it is the country that has the most complicated transition and needs the most time. Germany has a very green story but it is still the country in Europe with the most polluting emissions and that contributes the most to climate change, since it continues to produce electricity mainly with coal. The German green movement was originally pacifist and anti-nuclear and is closing its power plants. But they need gas to replace coal and for that reason the President of the Commission, who is German, includes gas as green energy although it is not.

Spain did its homework well and has already resolved the investment in gas. It is uneconomical to build new nuclear power plants and the debate must be to extend the useful life of existing ones. But we must not lose focus on this sterile debate that fortunately does not affect our country. The Government Plan and the strategic plans of the private sector coincide in prioritizing investment in the next decade in solar and wind energy, the least polluting and the cheapest and most competitive. Also in pumping stations to use hydraulic energy as a backup for renewables and green hydrogen, a still expensive and immature technology.

Iberdrola is a world leader in wind energy and this has allowed intense industrial and technological development with a lot of employment and high salaries. Solar technology is imported but it will also generate a lot of jobs. Let's improve our regulation and take advantage of European funds to fulfill our plan and leave the nuclear and gas debate to the French and Germans who are the ones with a serious problem.

Know in depth all the sides of the coin.


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