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France

French report warns too much emphasis placed on wind energy

A report to the French parliament has warned that France is placing too much emphasis on wind energy to meet its commitments under the EU's new renewable energy directive. The Report on the Present State and Prospects for Renewable Energies advises the government to concentrate instead on biofuels and solar power. "Wind is not the miraculous solution to meeting the increase in demand for electricity in France or any other developed country," say the report's authors, deputies Claude Birraux and Jean-Yves Le Déaut. While they welcome the planned installation of 1500 MW of capacity through fixed tariffs, they make two provisos for further expansion. First, government policies should make clear, and take into account, the real costs of wind in terms of environmental impact and improvements needed to the grid. Second, the government should be encouraging French industry to meet the demands of the French electricity market through renewables before giving subsidies to wind energy producers. The report also calls for green certificate trading, which would allow market forces to set a price on the environmental value of wind power, and intensified research in renewable energies. In the long run, it cautions, France should be anticipating trends in the global energy industry, not reacting to them.

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