EU approves France’s 17GW clean energy plans

The European Commission has approved France’s three new renewable energy initiatives.
Published: Wed 17 May 2017

France’s plan to develop three different renewable energy schemes for the expansion of 17GW of onshore wind, solar, and sewage gas installations in the country have been approved by the European Union.  

The onshore wind scheme needs approximately €1bn per year, and will offer support for 15GW of new capacity during the next decade. The solar scheme has a provisional budget of €190m per year, and the sewage gas development scheme has a provisional budget of €58m per year.

These goals contribute towards France’s target of producing 23% of its energy needs from renewable sources by 2020.

The projects, which will take the form of what is called a premium on top of the market price, are likely to be small-scale. These will offer support to operators of small-scale onshore installations of no more than 6 wind turbines with a capacity of maximum 3MW. 

Solar scheme

The solar support scheme is a scheme for small-scale solar PV installations (below 100kW) on building roofs. These installations will receive a feed-in tariff over 20 years and the premium on top of the market will vary depending on the size and the business model – transmitting the electricity back into the grid or consuming a portion of it.

Around 2.1GW of small-scale solar power is expected to be created through the scheme.

Sewage gas support scheme

The final scheme - sewage gas support scheme - could supply 160MW of projects, most of them of less than 1MW in size. Even though the scheme will be open to bigger installations, it is more likely that the support is given to small-scale installations.

The 500kW-plus installations will be backed by a ‘premium on top of the market price’ for a period of 20 years, but installations under 500kW will receive a feed-in tariff over 2 decades.

France builds investor and developer confidence

With renewable capacity growing exponentially in recent years, France’s new objectives published within  the country’s multiannual programme of energy scenarios (Plan de programmation pluriannuelle de l'Energie (PPE)) are predicted to add to investor and developer confidence that the country will remain attractive for new capacity.

With these goals for enhanced electrification, ongoing demand for renewable energy in France is expected to be secured by national policy to reduce the share of nuclear power in electricity production from about 75% to 50% by 2025.

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