EU Sustainable Finance Taxonomy Delegated Act on Nuclear Energy and Natural Gas
On February 2, the European Commission presented a Complementary Delegated Act (CDA) that includes fossil gas and nuclear energy in the European Union’s Sustainable Finance Taxonomy, a classification system to determine whether an economic activity is considered environmentally sustainable to guide private investment. The first Climate Delegated Act of the EU Taxonomy Regulation was adopted in July 2021.
The criteria for the specific gas and nuclear activities are in line with EU climate and environmental objectives and aim to help accelerate the shift from solid or liquid fossil fuels, including coal, towards a climate-neutral future.
According to the proposed regulations, nuclear can be considered taxonomy compliant as long as it meets several stringent conditions, including:
- The member state in which the project is located must have operational final disposal facilities for very low, low, and intermediate radioactive waste;
- The member state must have plans in place for an operational disposal facility for high-level radioactive waste;
- As of 2025, existing and new build projects must use accident-tolerant fuel, which has been certified and approved by the national regulator.
Gas power plants would be labeled green this decade if they emit less than 270g of CO2 equivalent per kWh or have annual emissions below 550kg CO2e per kW over 20 years. That could include gas plants with relatively high CO2 emissions today, provided they switch to low-carbon gas or reduce their running hours in later years. Gas plants must switch to running on low-carbon gases by 2035.
The CDA was formally adopted in all EU official languages on March 9 and transmitted to the European Parliament and the Council for their scrutiny on March 10. The two co-legislators had four months, extendable by two, to scrutinize the document. On July 6, The European Parliament voted for the inclusion of specific nuclear and gas energy activities, under certain conditions, in the list of environmentally sustainable economic activities covered by the EU Taxonomy. The European Council did not object to the proposal.
The Taxonomy Delegated Act will enter into force and apply as of January 1st, 2023.
Please contact Anna Costiuc (email@example.com) at U.S. Mission to the European Union with any questions on energy-related matters.