May 6, 2013 - France may start producing electricity from marine energy as of 2016 as President Francois Hollande has pledged to introduce some changes in the country's energy mix, according to the conclusions of an official inter-ministerial report released on Friday.
Marine energy may become a major strategic asset for France as the country has a favourable geographic location, with coasts on both the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. In addition, France has the second biggest sea area in the world which is another benefit. Experts add that the country has Europe's second biggest tidal potential after the UK.
The experts from the energy and industry ministries, who prepared the report, consider that several types of marine energy use may turn out promising for the needs of the country, namely the energy of marine currents, floating wind turbines and tidal energy.
France may have functioning marine energy parks by 2016-2020 if the government calls tenders in 2015, the experts noted.
Renewable marine energy, excluding wind power, may eventually reach an installed capacity of between 3 GW and 5 GW in France, which is equal to the capacity of two or three nuclear power plants.
France, which is very attached to nuclear energy production, wants to make an energy transition by changing partially the way in which the French energy mix is formed. Thus, by 2025 nuclear capacity will produce only 50% of the overall electricity, versus 75% at present. This will be achieved by raising the share of renewable energy in the energy mix.
In France, marine energy is still in its infancy stage in comparison to other renewable energy segments like wind or solar power. The country has no large-scale commercial facility in operation yet.
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