Big boost to French target by Jospin

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France has massively increased its target for installed wind capacity from 500 MW in the year 2005 to 3000 MW by 2010. The new figure was announced by the prime minister, Lionel Jospin, at a conference in Paris at the end of May. The presence of Jospin and two of his ministers at the conference, Energy and Sustainable Development: the Role of Renewable Energies (page 34), is being seen as a turning point in the fortunes of renewable energies in a country renowned for its dependency on nuclear power.

The new target came as a surprise. Jospin did not spell out the details of how it will be achieved, but he is expected to do so later this summer after he has received a report on renewables by a commission set up by the previous government, chaired by Yves Cochet, vice-president of the Assemblee Nationale. The target was adopted from a report on combating climate change and reaffirms France's intention of complying with the contents of a proposed EU directive on renewables. The proposal aims to double the contribution of renewables from 6% to 12% of energy supply by 2010.

For the time being, France is still in the small time league of wind capacity. There are only about 50 turbines operating in the whole of mainland France. At the end of 1999 it had just 23 MW installed. This has since risen to almost 30 MW following the connection to the grid of the 8.8 MW Corbieres-Maritimes wind farm, the largest in France to date. The national utility, EDF, expects wind capacity to increase to almost 80 MW by the end of the year and to 360 MW by the end of 2002, when most projects in France's EOLE 2005 program of wind energy support will be complete.

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