France backtracks on renewables targets, amends draft ‘energy sovereignty’ bill

(EurActiv, 19 Jan 2024) France’s draft energy sovereignty bill will not include any targets at all, at least for now, the office of French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire has confirmed, responding to criticism about the bill’s lack of consideration for renewables and over-emphasis on nuclear.

The draft bill on “energy sovereignty” attracted controversy since its publication on 8 January for its perceived lack of balance between renewable energies and nuclear power.

But Le Maire, who inherited the energy portfolio as part of a government reshuffle last week, announced on Wednesday that he would backtrack.

Ongoing consultations with the National Council for Ecological Transition (CNTE) and the Economic, Social and Environmental Council (CESE) “have shown the value of taking more time” to determine “what should come under the law and what should rather be part of the energy and climate programme, at the regulatory level”, Le Maire’s office said on Wednesday.

Observers have criticised the text for failing to mention France’s renewable energy targets, even going as far as removing existing objectives set out in French legislation in line with the EU’s Renewable Energy Directive.

However, the bill included detailed objectives for the availability of EDF’s fleet of 53 existing nuclear reactors as well as the upcoming reactors due to open at Flamanville later this year.

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EurActiv, 19 Jan 2024: France backtracks on renewables targets, amends draft ‘energy sovereignty’ bill