The energy policy between the Germans and the French could hardly be more different.

Here a green economics minister who is demanding a wind turbine on every milk churn, there a president who is proclaiming the comeback of nuclear energy.

In the direction of climate neutrality, the two largest economies in the EU are now finally going their separate ways.

It is currently difficult to predict which will prove to be more successful.

Both the triad of wind, sun and "green" hydrogen that Germany is aiming for and the mix of nuclear energy and renewables favored by France are full of hope.

As if there was the acceleration of construction processes: Macron promises that the six new nuclear power plants will be commissioned from the mid-2030s, but the experience from Flamanville in Normandy makes us skeptical in this regard.

A new reactor has been under construction there for 15 years.

He's still not done.

Commissioning is now more than ten years late.

The cost of new reactors could also turn out to be much higher.

In Flamanville, they have at least quadrupled the originally calculated 3.4 billion euros, transferred to the announcement from Belfort that would be hundreds of billions of euros for the new plants.

In view of the drastic drop in prices for solar systems and wind turbines, such a price for the nuclear renaissance may seem ludicrously high.

Especially when you add costs such as the disposal of spent fuel rods and the maintenance of the existing power plant park, where the problems are piling up.

But the German way doesn't exactly seem like a tempting alternative.

Because it, too, will only lead to the goal if planning and construction is carried out much more quickly - which does not seem all that realistic in view of the past few years: the expansion of renewables in Germany has slacked off, the large-scale grid expansion has not even taken place.

The resistance to windmills is sometimes bitter, but also justified, both in Germany and in France.

And the fact that Germany subsidizes green electricity producers with 20 to 30 billion euros a year makes the costs for new nuclear power plants seem manageable.

Especially since they can also hope for private capital through the taxonomy seal.

To implement the climate goals, you need CO2-free electricity

It is too often ignored that the price for the individual kilowatt hour says nothing about the costs of the entire system.

The wind blows with full force only a few hours a year and the sun hardly shines in winter.

This makes a gigantic accompanying infrastructure indispensable: Anyone who, like Germany, relies on 100 percent renewables needs thousands of kilometers more power lines and more space, storage facilities and hydrogen electrolysers than France with the mix of renewables and nuclear power plants that Macron is aiming for.

If you add everything up, saying goodbye to nuclear energy in the neighboring country does not seem advisable, according to the experts at the French network operator RTE.

Rather, it is efficient to increase the wind potential, especially in regions such as the stormy Atlantic coast, to make use of the many hours of sunshine in the south - but also to have nuclear power plants connected to the grid.

The idea behind this is that implementing the lofty climate goals requires huge amounts of CO2-free electricity.

Nuclear power plants provide this.

In Berlin, one should also refrain from giving instructions in the direction of Paris, because the energy transition made in Germany has led to a dangerous dependence on Russian natural gas.

Due to the dual phase-out of nuclear power and coal, this energy source is Germany's only safeguard against dark doldrums.

But natural gas has become extremely expensive and scarce in a short space of time, as you have to take into account this winter.

That also flows into the realistic assessment that Macron made before he turned to nuclear energy.

For him, it is an important element in making his country independent of the whims of foreign powers.

This thought is not so wrong.

At the same time, Macron is striving to promote the research and development of new reactors and start-ups and thus build up long-term technological knowledge in nuclear energy.

This creates jobs and added value that Germany may one day envy France for.

The future is open.

Keywords: