French energy giant brings in consultancies for nuclear strategy

19 September 2023 2 min. read

French energy group EDF has brought in the help of three consulting firms to help the company’s executive committee with defining its nuclear strategy as France prepares for a further shift towards nuclear power.

EDF (Électricité de France), a multinational electric utility company currently being nationalized by the French government, is making the first steps towards revamping its nuclear strategy.

The strategic development process will be supported by Bain & CompanyCorporate Value Associates and Archery Strategy Consulting. All three are strategy-focused consultancies and all three are part of EDF’s framework contract for strategy consulting services which it signed in 2021.

French energy giant brings in consultancies for nuclear strategy

With 56 active nuclear reactors distributed over 18 nuclear power plants, EDF is one of the largest energy producers in the world.

In February 2022, Emmanuel Macron announced plans to construct six new second generation nuclear power reactors, with an eye towards an additional eight more after that.

Currently, France gets around 70% of its energy from nuclear power. Due to the low cost of generating power in France, the country is the world’s largest exporter of electricity, bringing in over €3 billion per year from energy sales.

EDF is incapable of funding the new reactors itself and Macron called on the European Investment Bank to invest in nuclear, with the view that it is a viable low-carbon energy source. But that is not what Germany thinks: The fellow European Union country vehemently opposes nuclear energy and has successfully decommissioned all of its nuclear reactors, a process that was hastened after the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan in 2011.

Europe is far from having a unified view on nuclear energy. For example, Italy has been incredibly fickle on the subject. The Italians first closed all nuclear power plants in the wake of the Chernobyl disaster, then made plans in 2008 to revive nuclear energy production, then cancelled those plans in the wake of the Fukushima disaster. Italy’s government has now changed tune once again this year, citing nuclear power as an important part of the country’s decarbonization ambitions.

Though France’s plans to build 14 new reactors has been described as reckless by opponents, even they have recently conceded that it might indeed serve as at least an interim alternative to fossil fuels. Germany, which rushed to shut down its nuclear fleet, has been criticized for compensating by upping their coal-burnt energy production, with many German coal power plants burning lignite, the dirtiest type of coal. Even Greta Thunberg called that a bad idea