Hollande election could boost French wind

FRANCE: Despite struggling under increasingly onerous regulations, the French wind industry is optimistic about its prospects following the election of socialist president François Hollande.

French president Francois Hollande... good news for wind?

The first indications are "largely positive", said Damien Mathon, Managing Director of trade association Renewable Energy Syndicate (SER).

By contrast, Hollande's predecessor, Nicolas Sarkozy, was keen to preserve France's nuclear fleet and oversaw the tightening of regulations for wind power.

During the campaign, Marie-Hélène Aubert, Hollande's advisor on energy and the environment, said Hollande would simplify the regulations for wind power plant, including abolishing the five-turbine minimum threshold.

The indications are that this might happen quite quickly. In an article in Le Monde on 8 May, Aubert said the new government would "re-establish a stable, visible and incentivising regulatory framework" for wind power before next summer.

Hollande also said he wants to reduce the share of nuclear in the energy mix from around 75% to 50% by 2025. This would be achieved by more renewable generation alongside energy savings, he said.

He also supports increasing the European target to reduce green house gas emissions by 30% in 2020. With this in mind, he will launch a debate on energy this autumn, leading to a new law early 2013 laying out how to finance the "energy transition".