Segolene Royal, the French Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy Minister, underlined France’s interest in cooperating with the UAE on renewable and nuclear energy at the World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi.

Many French companies, including EDF Energy and GDF Suez are major players in the GCC’s power industry. However, nuclear cooperation will now be tied to investment in renewables.

“In France, after the bill I presented before the French Assembly, we voted for a new energy mix,” said Royal. “We have to export mixed energies, with nuclear and renewable energies together.  And we are investing in the future, with the best equipment and the best technology, consuming less uranium, and recycling waste. At the same time, we are investing in renewable energy.”

Abu Dhabi’s Enec and South Korea’s Korea Electric Power Corporation (Kepco) are planning to bring nuclear reactors at the Baraka plant online in 2017. Other countries in the region are studying the nuclear option, including Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

After meeting with the UAE Energy Minister, Royal praised the UAE for a successful conference and for investing in renewables.

“It’s fantastic to see oil-producing countries investing in renewable energy, and preparing for the day after oil.”

She did not see a negative effect of oil prices on renewable energy.

“I think we have to take this as an opportunity,” she continued. “The decrease of the oil import bill can [create] room for manoeuvre, to invest in renewable and efficiency energy. But we have to manage it.”