EU approves state aid for 2.6GW of French renewables

The EU has approved state aid for 2,660MW of renewable schemes in France. The three initiatives have been allowed because they will help France achieve its 2020 target of producing 23% […]

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By Jonny Bairstow

The EU has approved state aid for 2,660MW of renewable schemes in France.

The three initiatives have been allowed because they will help France achieve its 2020 target of producing 23% of its energy needs without unduly affecting the market or causing price distortion.

The vast majority of capacity will come from solar. The first scheme will pay a feed-in tariff to operators of small-scale solar installations of less than 100KW in size, installed on domestic or commercial roofs. This scheme will develop around 1,500MW of solar capacity.

The second solar plan will support operators of larger solar installations (between 100 and 250KW and those above 250KW). This scheme will develop around 1,100MW in additional solar capacity.

Additionally, a hydropower support scheme will grant support for up to 60MW of new hydropower plants.

The two solar schemes have a combined provisional budget of €439 million (£373.8m) per year and the hydropower scheme has a provisional budget of €25 million (£21.3m) per year. All three could run for around 20 years.

Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, responsible for Competition, said: “These French initiatives will stimulate a greater use of renewable energy sources and provide legal certainty to the sector, while limiting the use of state support to the minimum. This is a very important balance for Europe in the pursuit of our environmental objectives.”

France has recently announced the launch of its first sovereign green bond, amounting a record €7 billion (£6bn).