towards an acceleration of the development of green energies in France

By Elsa Bembaron

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A new objective of 40 to 45 GW of installed capacity in France in 2035 could be set. Florent /

According to several working groups, who submitted their proposals to the government on Tuesday, solar energy production, in particular, could be multiplied by five between 2022 and 2035.

One more step has been taken in the context of the preparation of the multi-year energy program, the national low-carbon strategy and new texts of energy and climate laws. This Tuesday, seven working groups submitted their proposals to the Minister of Energetic transition Agnès Pannier-Runacher.

Four main areas stand out: sobriety and energy efficiency, with a target of 30% reduction in energy consumption in France in 2030 compared to 2012. Next comes the acceleration of all renewable energies and nuclear power and finally, innovation “not to close any door“. The production objective on our soil of a “low-carbon, abundant and competitive electricity» implies focusing on all energies, renewable and nuclear, and accelerating the end of dependence on fossil fuels. The latter involves, for example, an acceleration in the rate of removal of oil boilers in the existing fleet.

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Towards a clear acceleration from 2024

The working groups also recommend maintaining the minimum rate of development of onshore wind power at 1.5 GW per year to reach 40 to 45 GW of installed capacity in 2035, compared to 21 GW in 2022. From 2024, the emphasis could be put the development of offshore wind power, in order to have a production capacity of 18 gigawatts in 2035 (compared to 0.5 today), with a step to 8 GW in 2025, which would represent a doubling by in relation to projects already underway.

Solar electricity production could be multiplied by five between 2022 and 2035 to reach 75 GW. This should result in an acceleration of the pace of solar development to at least 5.5 GW per year, aiming for 7 GW per year. For this acceleration to be acceptable, a “balanced distribution» is recommended, between ground-mounted solar power plants (65%), large roofs (25%) and residential (10%). Preference could be given to “abandoned land and industrial wasteland while exploiting the potential of agrivoltaic and solar energy on agricultural and forestry land“.

The development of low-carbon energies also concerns heat networks (geothermal, solar thermal, waste heat recovery).

Nuclear power at the heart of the system

Nuclear power nevertheless remains at the heart of the system, with a dual target. First of all, restore the availability of existing reactors, and for some, continue their operation after 50 or 60 years, in order to aim for a production of 400 terawatt hours per year, against a target of 300 to 350 TWh this year. Then, launch the construction of six new EPR reactors to “be able, by 2026, to make a decision on the construction of 8 additional EPR2“. Finally, the commitment to the construction of a lead series SMR (small modular reactor) in France by 2030 is envisaged, as well as the construction of at least one prototype of an advanced fourth generation nuclear reactor (AMR ) by 2030.

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In total, around a hundred people worked on the subject, deputies and senators from all political stripes, local elected officials, representatives of professional federations, social partners and civil society, in particular environmental ociations. With this preparatory work, the minister aims to “reduce the scope for disagreement» and «carry out an ecological and energy transition close to reality and to citizens”.

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