France plans to triple wind power capacity by 2030

FILE PHOTO: Power-generating windmill turbines are pictured at sunset at a wind park in Moeuvres near Cambrai, France, November 12, 2018. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol

PARIS (Reuters) – France plans to triple its onshore wind power capacity by 2030 and multiply by five its solar power generation, enabling it to boost the share of renewables in its energy mix to 40 percent, according to the energy plan presented on Tuesday.

French President Emmanuel Macron said the government would increase spending on renewables development to 8 billion euros ($9.05 billion) annually from 5 billion to take total spending to 71 billion euros between 2019 to 2028.

Nuclear-dependent France has lagged behind other European nations with only around 20 percent of electricity consumption coming from renewables.

“By 2030, the production of the onshore wind farm will be tripled and the amount of energy produced from solar photovoltaic multiplied by five,” Macron said in a televised speech.

France is on track to meet its target of 15 Gigawatt of installed wind power capacity by the end of the year, but installation of solar panels would likely fall short of the 10.2 GW target by the end of the year.

Macron said the government would make sure power prices from renewables projects are kept low for consumers while developing more power interconnectors with European neighbors so as to always benefit from the least-cost power.

To keep a check on power prices, the government also plans to reform France’s ARENH market mechanism which allows alternative power suppliers to buy up to 100 terrawatt hour (TWh) of power produced by French nuclear reactors every year at a fixed price of 42 euros/MWh.

The mechanism, which allows French consumers to have one of the lowest electricity prices in Europe, is expected to end in 2025, Macron said.

“It is indispensable that French people continue to benefit from it so long as the nuclear reactors are functioning,” he added. ($1 = 0.8844 euros)

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