Governments’ recovery programmes should invest in nuclear for cleaner and more resilient energy

For immediate release: 30 April 2020

The IEA Global Energy Review 2020, published today, highlights the dramatic impact that the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic has had on energy consumption, as it has had on many aspects of our lives.

The report also raises the spectre of a sharp rebound in greenhouse gas emissions as economies recover unless governments ensure that stimulus packages are invested in projects that will bring long-lasting benefits, including a cleaner and more resilient energy system.

World Nuclear Association Director General Agneta Rising said, “The IEA report is right to conclude that a coordinated policy effort will be needed to harvest opportunities including moving towards a more modern, cleaner and resilient energy sector for all. Nuclear is cost-effective and will help deliver a faster and better clean energy transition that will provide high-value jobs now and for a sustainable future.”

The IEA report is misleading in saying that “demand” for electricity from renewables has risen when, as the report notes, electricity consumption has fallen, by more than 25% in those countries most affected by the coronavirus.

As the report recognizes, suppliers are obligated to dispatch electricity produced from renewable generation ahead of other generation types in many markets. This is particularly challenging when dealing with intermittent sources, such as at times of high solar or wind output that result in a glut of excess electricity.

Agneta Rising said, “Current market structures are unfair and unsustainable. Other forms of generation, including nuclear, are having to bear the burden of the system costs created by renewable intermittency. And ultimately it is the end consumer who pays for all the additional system costs and subsidies, directly through their bills or indirectly through taxes.”

Agneta Rising concluded, “Governments need to take urgent action to invest in nuclear energy as a major part of a global low-carbon energy mix. This will protect the planet by cutting greenhouse gas emissions, make our energy systems more resilient, generate thousands of high-skill jobs and save lives by reducing air pollution.”



Notes to Editors

The IEA Global Energy Review 2020 is available here.

World Nuclear Association is the international organisation that represents the global nuclear industry. Its mission is to promote a wider understanding of nuclear energy among key international influencers by producing authoritative information, developing common industry positions, and contributing to the energy debate, as well as to pave the way for expanding nuclear business.