The National Assembly, the lower house of the French Parliament, on Tuesday approved a draft bill that aims to speed up renewable energy deployment, putting a focus on solar and offshore wind, as the country lags behind in meeting EU objectives.
The new measures proposed for speeding up the addition of renewables envisage making available more land for solar power generation and creating artificial surfaces for that purpose. Outdoor car parks with more than 80 slots will need to have solar canopies installed for at least half of the area.
Another major pillar in the bill concerns offshore wind and calls for the creation of priority zones for turbine installation. The target areas will be located in the country’s exclusive economic zone.
The measures also include an option for projects to be declared of “overriding public interest” and thus become exempt from some of the required environmental permitting. Meanwhile, certain tax incentives are planned to be adopted in order to promote the installation of facilities using renewable energy.
The bill was passed in first reading with 286 favourable votes in a vote cast of 524, despite opposition from far-right and far-left parties. Deputies and senators are due to meet on January 24 to work on a compromise text that will be subsequently subject to a final vote.
Early in 2022, President Emmanuel Macron announced ambitious mid-century renewable energy objectives, based on which France will aim at 40 GW of offshore wind power generation capacity and more than 100 GW of solar by 2050. The goal for onshore wind is 37 GW by the same year.
At the European level, France is the only Member State to have missed its 2020 renewable energy target. The renewable share of gross final energy consumption reached 19.1% in 2020, against a target of 23%.
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