France faces tough Arenh reform talks with EC – minister

07/02/2020 11:07 Nuclear


Talks with the European Commission over plans to reform sales of French nuclear output to rivals will be no “walk in the park” as Brussels has “state aid and competition distortion” concerns, said France’s energy minister.


“You can imagine that when we propose a regulatory mechanism for prices at a European level, there are indeed fears of state aid, fears of distortion of competition, but that is what we must respond to,” Elisabeth Borne told Montel on the sidelines of an energy conference in Paris.

“There is a vision [in Brussels] that the best thing for the power sector is to have a pure and perfect market, which is not exactly our analysis.”

Approval soon?

The reform must be approved in the “coming months”, said Borne, who would meet with commissioner Margrethe Vestager “soon”.

The French government is currently in talks with the European Commission over the proposed regulation that introduces a price cap and floor on EDF’s nuclear sales to rivals and covers almost all of its atomic generation.

Currently, EDF’s nuclear sales are set at EUR 42/MWh, known as the Arenh rate, at which it sells 100 TWh/year, or around 25%, of its nuclear output to rivals.

The state-owned utility’s rivals had dismissed government plans to reform the Arenh mechanism as “mind-boggling” and ill conceived. 

Under the new plan, about 360 TWh/year of EDF’s nuclear output would be sold via the wholesale market, with the new floor and ceiling prices adjusted according to the changing costs of EDF’s nuclear fleet.

The government has not disclosed any prices but has only said the difference between the floor and cap would be EUR 6.


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