France is on course to miss its renewable energy target in 2020 by more than 33 per cent unless it smoothes out creases in its planning process, according France’s green lobbying body Syndicat des Energies Renouvelables (SER).
At the start of the year the country launched a tender to encourage the development of offshore wind, representing an investment of $13.62bn. The tender is expected to see the construction of 600 offshore wind turbines with a combined capacity of 3GW off the coast of France. But the country’s foray into offshore wind development has not protected it from projections that it will fall short of its clean energy goals for the coming decade.
France lifted its renewable energy capacity target above the level that was set by the European Union four years ago. The country is now aiming to source 23 per cent of its entire national energy usage from renewable power in the next ten years.
But certain regulations in the country are hampering its plans to meet more than one fifth of its power needs with renewable energy, SER has warned.
The organisation’s head Jean-Louis Bal has urged the government to take action soon to ‘lift administrative constraints’ in the industry and to make funding for the sector more available. He claims the government is not doing enough to finance or support the growing renewable energy sector.
Red tape has not prevented companies such as French nuclear reactor developer Areva and GDF Suez from seeking to bid under the country’s wind energy tender, according to reports. The two companies are rumoured to be in advanced talks to develop a wind energy joint venture to target the tender that may also employ the help of wind energy players such as Dong Energy.
So far the country’s installed wind capacity has reached 6GW, but this level of installation needs to be ramped up to a pace of 1.5GW added each year from now until 2020 if the country is to achieve its goals, SER has warned. It said that beyond the 2015 mark it may be too late to accelerate the development of the industry enough to hit the self-set target. Last year close to 1.1GW of wind power capacity was built in the country.
France’s solar industry is the only clean energy sector that is expected to reach its set targets in time, according to SER, while wind power, biofuel and renewable heating are the biggest laggards. The country aims to have at least 19GW of solar power capacity installed by 2020.
The SER has reiterated that the tsunami in Japan and ensuing radiation leaks serve as the proof that the world needs to diversify its energy mix.
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