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France could have 100% renewables in 2050

FRANCE: Report by environment and energy management agency Ademe suggesting that France could generate all electricity from renewables by 2050 is not unrealistic, says FEE.

Boralex's Grand Camp project in central France
Boralex's Grand Camp project in central France

Wind would supply the majority of this electricity, amounting to an extra 96GW onshore and 10GW offshore, up from around 9GW total today.

This is perfectly feasible says Frederic Lanoe, president of the French Wind Energy Association (FEE). FEE believes that France can quite easily reach 50-60GW in 2030. If just 2-3GW were added each year after that, it would give an extra 40-60GW. "This is not unrealistic," Lanoe states.

Ademe's report was supposed to have been presented at a conference on 14-15 April, but was subsequently removed from the programme, apparently because it had not been "finalised", according to French media.

This may be because it is a sensitive subject in a country where nuclear power generates around 75% of electricity and government efforts to cut this to 50% in 2025 are already proving difficult.

In the meantime, the online investigative journal Mediapart has published the report.

Among other things, Ademe said costs would be just slightly higher to have 100% clean electricity as opposed to the current government target of 40% renewables in 2030. The former would cost EUR119/MWh and the latter EUR117/MWh, Ademe estimates.

Last year saw an increase in wind power installations in France for the first time in three years thanks to simplification of France's permitting system in 2013. Just over 1GW in capacity was added in 2014, all of which was onshore. 

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