Renewables must deliver almost half of France's power by 2030, new bill decrees

19 June 2014

LONDON: France has set a target that 40% of its electricity will come from renewable energy by 2030, in a landmark energy bill unveiled yesterday.

French Energy Minister, Segolene Royal, has introduced a series of reforms aimed at reducing France’s dependence on nuclear power and boosting the nation’s renewable energy resources.

Following the oil shocks of the 1970s France embraced nuclear energy, but the strategy has courted controversy and came into sharp focus during President Francois Hollande’s election campaign.

The socialist President has expressed his commitment to shift away from nuclear energy and yesterday’s bill delivers on this, promising nuclear’s share in France’s electricity production will decrease from 75% today to 50% by 2025.

“The continuing reliance on nuclear will no doubt grate some in the environmental community, but given its good safety record in France, production of low carbon energy, and significant contribution to overall generation, the government has clearly gone for a pragmatic and least cost phase out (or perhaps more accurately ‘phase-down’) of the technology", Damian Ryan, Policy Manager at The Climate Group, remarked.

Green economy to create 100,000 jobs

Renewables will receive a significant boost, with Royal’s bill set to increase the share of overall energy consumption to 32%, up from just under 20% today. The Energy Minister also indicated that by fostering the green economy, she will create 100,000 new jobs.

In addition, the bill recognizes the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in line with the EU target of 40% reduction in emissions by 2030, and provides for a 30% cut in fossil fuel consumption by 2030.

Damian Ryan, Policy Manager at The Climate Group, emphasized these new targets come at a critical time for international climate action: “Firstly, as hosts of next year’s critical UN climate conference, France needs to demonstrate that it clearly has its own climate and energy house in order if it is to play the role of a fair and ambitious COP president. This new bill would seem to go a long way to delivering this.”

“Secondly, and more immediately, France also needs to lay down a clear marker that puts a floor under its commitment to an ambitious 2030 EU climate and energy package. Member States are meant to reach agreement on this in October and the new bill would seem to put France in the same ballpark as Germany and the UK, its key allies, in pushing for a 40% emission cut by 2030.

Related news:

Hollande and Obama make joint call for global climate deal and low carbon growth

Clean energy accounts for over half of Europe's energy production, led by France and Germany

EU calls for 40% GHG cut, 27% renewable energy by 2030: Mark Kenber says goal must be seen as "floor for ambition"

By Alana Ryan

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