Renewable energies: final vote in the Senate for the final adoption

Parliament is preparing to definitively adopt the renewable energy acceleration bill by a final Senate vote (AFP/Bertrand GUAY)

The bill to accelerate renewable energies carried by Agnès Pannier-Runacher is reaching its goal, braving the political tumult of the pension reform: after long consultations and tough negotiations, Parliament is preparing to adopt it definitively Tuesday, by a final vote of the Senate.

In the midst of the energy crisis and under the pressure of global warming, this text aims to make France catch up on its great delay in renewable energies. After having been the subject of a compromise between deputies and senators, it must be adopted in the afternoon, at the heart of a day of mobilization against the pension reform.

It intends to meet the objective set by President Emmanuel Macron for 2050 to multiply by ten the production capacity of solar energy to exceed 100 GW and to deploy 50 wind farms at sea to reach 40 GW.

It aims to “remove all the obstacles that delay the deployment of projects”, underlined the Minister of Energy Transition Agnès Pannier-Runacher who fought hard to gain support in the oppositions on the right and on the left.

“We are the only European country not to have achieved its objectives” in terms of wind and solar power, she told the deputies who gave their last green light last week.

The text is divided into major sections: streamlining of administrative procedures to reduce the time it takes to deploy projects; accelerating the development of solar energy and offshore wind; improving the local acceptability of projects.

– “Anti-wind ideology” –

In both chambers, as in the joint joint committee, the fiercest negotiations focused in particular on the planning of areas for accelerating the deployment of renewable energies, with the approval of the municipalities, and on possible exclusion zones.

Local elected officials “propose and have the last word on zoning”, underlined Agnès Pannier-Runacher. And exclusion zones will only be possible for territories that validate acceleration zones, she recalled.

The left fears the return of the veto of the mayors, which LR demanded for the whole of the territory. And NGOs and players in the renewables sector criticize a “gas plant”.

For Greenpeace France, “if the text is rather satisfactory on offshore wind power, it remains too late and limited on solar power, and above all very insufficient on onshore wind power”.

“The anti-wind ideology has influenced this law too much,” one of its representatives said in a statement.

Another sensitive subject, the supervision of agrivoltaism, combining agriculture and energy production.

At the end of 2022, France had approximately 66 GW of total renewable electricity capacity, divided between 40% for hydraulics (dams), 31% for onshore wind power and 24% for photovoltaics.

A study published at the end of January estimated that France should not achieve the objectives it had set for the deployment of electric renewable energies over the period 2019-2023.

For onshore wind power, the official target of 24.1 gigawatts (GW) of installed capacity set for the end of 2023 “will not be achieved”, the country barely reaching 20 GW at the end of September 2022, notes this annual Observ barometer ‘ER.

On the photovoltaic side, despite an increased growth rate since 2021 and a “partially confirmed recovery in 2022 (…) the sector is still not on the right trajectory”, adds the Observatory which is based, among other things, on on data from Enedis and EDF.

This text is only the first part of a triptych on energy. In the spring, the executive intends to defend in the National Assembly the bill promoting the construction of new nuclear reactors, voted easily at first reading in the Senate on January 24.

Then the Parliament will decide, at best this summer, on the energy future of France, with the multiannual programming law, fixing the share of each energy.

A final text which will take into account the public debate on nuclear power, but which parliamentarians would have liked to examine before the two technical acceleration texts.

© 2023 AFP

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