Wind and solar growth targets elude France (report)

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The efforts made by the competent French authorities to expand the production of wind and solar energy in order to generate renewable electricity did not succeed, as the results came below the official target ranges.

In this context, France is lagging behind in its plans to promote onshore wind and solar energy, according to the results of the annual renewable electricity report, which was issued by Paris on Tuesday, January 24, and was published by Reuters.

Estimates of the share of renewable sources in the electricity mix in France, during the past year (2022), were placed at about 26%, a slight increase from 25% in 2021, according to information viewed by the specialized energy platform.

The capacity of the produced onshore wind energy increased to about 20 gigawatts, starting in September (2022), according to the report.

The following chart – prepared by the Specialized Energy Platform – shows the renewable energy capacity additions that were expected in Europe during 2022:

An unattainable goal

The report also indicated that the goal of producing about 24 gigawatts of electricity in 2023 seems far-fetched.

France’s Multiannual Energy Program (BBE) law recommends producing between 33 and 35 GW of onshore wind power by 2028.

However, at the current rate, France is far behind in achieving this target, given that it produces only about 29.4 gigawatts, according to the report.

“Current progress is certainly not keeping up with the pace indicated in the Multiannual Energy Program Act,” explained the annual Renewable Electricity Report, prepared by various agencies, including the French Agency for Environmental Transition.

The report added: “The pace of installing solar panels in 2021, and some periods of 2022, allow keeping pace, but it is not sufficient to put the sector completely on the right track.”

As of September (2022), the capacity of solar energy produced in France is 15.8 GW.

At the current pace, this means solar energy production comes in at 31.4 GW by 2028, which is far behind its target of 35 GW to 44 GW. On January 10 (2023).

The French National Assembly approved the first issuance of a new bill aimed at accelerating installations related to renewable energy by simplifying administrative procedures, and focusing on onshore wind and solar energy.

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Wind farm – image courtesy of endesa

fuel crisis

France is facing an imminent fuel crisis as a result of a series of strikes that the oil sector pledged to organize, in protest against a package of measures proposed by the government to reform the pension system, on January 10 (2023).

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The oil sector unions in the General Confederation of Labor instigated strikes for several days, starting from January 19-26 (2023), and also on February 6 (2023).

The voices calling for strikes did not rule out the closure of refineries if necessary.

It is noteworthy that, in the wake of the French government’s unveiling of the pension reform project, the 8 main unions in the European country set January 19 (2023) as the date for entering a strike, in the first measure of its kind in 12 years.

investment in solar cells

The authorities in Lyon called on residents to invest in solar cells by installing them on 12 public buildings in the city, which they say will give them good investment returns, more than those achieved from savings accounts known as “Livery A” in France.

The mayor’s office provided 12 solar cells to residents, and asked investors and local residents excited about the idea to help fund and build the project.

The deputy mayor for environmental affairs, Sylvain Godino, commented on the scheme by saying that it may be associated with educational goals in addition to the environmental interest achieved from it.

“These solar cells allow us to hold educational workshops to explain and clarify these matters to children,” Godino said – in statements he made to France Info.

He added, “These workshops also provide parents with a golden opportunity to invest in solar cells, if they like this project, as it builds a direct relationship between the child and his family, and the school they go to every day.”

It is noteworthy that the aforementioned scheme allows the rental of solar cells by individual investors or groups, who will receive returns on their investments by selling electricity generated from solar energy.

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