IEA: French nuclear cuts to underpin renewables development

Illustration/DCNS-OpenHydro turbine deployed off France (Photo: DCNS)

International Energy Agency (IEA) has found that French government’s plans to significantly cut the share of nuclear power generation, while also reducing greenhouse gas emissions, would require significant investments in energy efficiency and new low-carbon generation.

In its latest country review of energy policies, IEA praised France for setting in motion significant reforms towards more secure, affordable and sustainable energy supplies and the green growth of its economy, namely with the introduction of the Energy Transition for Green Growth Act in 2015.

However, IEA found that the government’s plan to cut the share of nuclear power from 78% of electricity produced today to 50% by 2025, while also reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 40% in 2030, will require significant investments in energy efficiency and new low-carbon generation.

Reaching the target will also require careful policy guidance, effective markets and strong measures for renewables and energy efficiency, according to the IEA’s review of France’s energy policies.

The IEA report makes five propositions for France to accelerate the energy transition and guide energy investment, including the measure of reducing barriers to renewable deployment, while also encouraging the country to continue with its clear and long-term carbon pricing instruments.

According to IEA, the deployment of renewable energy in France is still below the IEA average.

While solar and biomass are developing well, further government action could help improve siting, permitting, acceptance and grid connection of wind power, IEA said.

Despite recent reforms, price signals from the electricity and carbon markets are weak and technical and market barriers remain for further renewable deployment, IEA concluded.

To remind, in April last year French government revised the offshore renewable energy targets for 2023 setting the goal for installed marine renewable energy projects, including wave and tidal, at 100MW by 2023.

At that time, French government said it expected the volume of the projects awarded by public tenders and underway in 2023 to reach 2GW for marine renewables, and 6GW for offshore wind.

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