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French parliament adopts bill to speed up green growth

11 Jan 2023 07:51

Photo: Shutterstock.com

Photo: Shutterstock.com

11 Jan 2023 07:51

(Montel) France’s lower house of parliament adopted a draft bill aimed at speeding up the development of renewables late on Tuesday although the industry fears it may create more delays.    

The bill passed despite opposition from right, far-right and far-left parties and would now go before a committee to draw up a compromise text before a final vote.

Measures outlined in the legislation aimed to cut red tape to fast-track renewables projects and put the country back on track to meet its green targets.

The move came as France was the only EU member state to have missed its 2020 target to its share of renewables in final energy demand to 23%.

Under the auspices of the bill, renewables projects could be declared of “overriding public interest”, allowing exemptions from environmental legislation.

In addition, it increased the potential land available for solar power generation, such as along major roads and coastlines, totalling 11 GW of capacity, the government said.
 
Solar panels would be compulsory for big car parks, for instance, with fines of up to EUR 40,000 for non-compliers.
 
The text would also speed up the implementation of offshore wind farms by establishing “priority zones” for such projects, while tax incentives would be brought in to encourage the building of renewables units.
 
Legislation counterproductive?
However, setting up these zones could be counterproductive due to the time needed to identify such areas, said environmental lawyer Arnaud Gossement.
 
Indeed, the bill could “on the contrary greatly slow down or even prevent” development, Alexandre Roesch, an official at France’s SER renewables lobby, told Montel.
 
Stricter rules governing onshore wind permitting risked opening “more opportunities for litigation”.

Roesch also criticised planned restrictions on solar panels in forest and farming areas and called for “political courage” to lift them.
 
Last year, president Emmanuel Macron set ambitious new targets for renewables, aiming for 100 GW of solar capacity and 77 GW of wind, including 40 GW offshore, by 2050. 

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