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The French government will significantly increase public spending on green energy projects while curbing the support to households to help them with the high energy prices, according to the 2024 budget.
Budget 2024 will be “the greenest in our history,” France’s Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said on Wednesday, announcing that the government plans to spend more than $42 billion (40 billion euros) next year on investments to advance the energy transition, a jump by $10.54 billion (10 billion euros) compared to this year’s green energy investments.
The huge rise in clean energy investment is aimed at making France the leading low-carbon power in Europe in 2040, the minister added.
The budget will aim to reduce government debt and public spending, Le Maire said.
To do this, France will withdraw the support measures that were introduced last year to protect consumers from soaring power prices.
“All studies show that French people are worried about climate change, but they want solutions that are affordable,” Anne Bringault, programs director at NGO Réseau Action Climat, told Bloomberg.
This week, French President Emmanuel Macron already unveiled some energy-related policies, saying that the government is “exiting the ‘whatever it costs’ approach.”
The French government will ask the fuel industry to sell fuels at cost in a bid to cushion the blow of higher oil prices on end consumers, Macron said this weekend.
Last year, during the last oil price surge, the French government tackled the sensitive issue of fuel prices by subsidizing them heavily.
This year, Macron admitted there is no money for that. He also said the government could not afford to cut fuel taxes to cushion the price surge blow because it needed the money to finance the energy transition and the welfare state.
Macron has also announced a plan to reduce France’s dependence on oil, gas, and coal, and cut national emissions by 55% from 1990 levels by 2030.
By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com
Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com