a bill and a circular to go “at least twice as fast”

Emmanuel Macron, Christophe Béchu, Minister for Ecological Transition, and Agnès Pannier-Runacher, Minister for Energy Transition, in Saint-Nazaire, in Loire-Atlantique, on September 22, 2022.

A bill, regulatory provisions, political impetus. From Saint-Nazaire (Loire-Atlantique), where he inaugurated the first wind farm at sea off the French coast, Emmanuel Macron sketched, Thursday, September 22, the main lines of the different tracks aimed at accelerating the deployment of renewables. By displaying a clear objective: to go "at least twice as fast" for the commissioning of new facilities. “If we go slower than our European neighbors, we will have more problems”added the head of state.

Sector players welcome the stated ambition to bet on renewables to deal with the energy and climate crises, while France is now one of the worst performers in the European Union in this area. In 2021, these energy sources represented only 19.3% of gross final energy consumption, well below the 23.7% threshold necessary to respect the trajectory set by the energy roadmap of the country.

How to catch up? A so-called “renewable energy acceleration” bill, aimed at simplifying procedures, freeing up space for the installation of new projects and better sharing the value generated by these energy sources, must be presented Monday, September 26 in the Council of Ministers. "This text is going in the right direction but once again forgets heat and renewable gas, while electricity will represent only 55% of our consumption in 2050"notes Alexandre Roesch, general delegate of the Renewable Energies Union.

Confusing “simplification and derogation”

Among the important measures of the text are, for the representatives of the sector, the possibility of pooling public debates concerning offshore wind farm projects on the scale of a coastline, to give more visibility to the different users of the sea. ; the recognition of the character of “major public interest” of the installations; or the provisions facilitating power purchase agreements – contracts concluded directly between a producer and a consumer, generally long term and at a fixed price.

Hotly contested by environmental protection organizations, article 3 appearing in the version of the bill submitted for consultation has been deleted. It made it possible to lower the thresholds at which a project should have been subject to an environmental assessment. “Simplification was eagerly awaited but the bill took the subject upside down by confusing simplification and derogationexplains Jean-Baptiste Lebrun, director of the CLER-Network for energy transition. Renewable sectors do not ask to be less vigilant with regard to the protection of biodiversity or other issues. »

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