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France Misses Its Renewables Capacity Installation Target

France missed its target of adding new solar and wind power capacity last year, despite adding more than 5 gigawatts (GW) to its renewable energy fleet, according to data from the French Energy Transition Ministry reported by Montel.

France installed a total of 3.1 GW of solar power in 2023, including a quarterly record-high of 0.9 GW in the last quarter of the year, as well as 1.1 GW of onshore wind and 1 GW of offshore wind.  

But its capacity additions missed the solar installation target by 830 megawatts (MW) and the combined onshore and offshore wind target by 3.1 GW, according to the government data.

France’s onshore wind capacity increased by 1.1 GW last year to 21.9 GW, with growth 394 MW lower compared to 2022, and 2.2 GW below the 2023 target. Offshore wind capacity rose by 1 GW in 2023 after the connection of two 500 MW capacity wind farms off the Normandy coast, the data showed.

In recent months, France has focused on its nuclear fleet, which provides around 70% of its electricity and which – typically – allows one of Europe’s biggest economies to export electricity to its European neighbors and partners.

Early this year, France’s Ministry of Energy Transition introduced a bill on energy sovereignty, which highlights the importance the country will attach to nuclear power generation in the future.

The bill includes targets for the construction of at least six and up to 14 new reactors, as France will be heavily relying on nuclear to meet its net-zero and emission reduction goals. The bill, however, doesn’t have any targets for expanding renewable energy capacity including wind and solar, while previous energy laws had such targets.                                  

The Solar Impulse Foundation, which took part in the consultation process for the draft bill, called on the French government “to include a quantified target for the production of energy from renewable sources, and to include a quantitative target in terms of increased energy efficiency.”  

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By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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