- France will aim to increase its installed solar power capacity by 2050 to over 100 GW
- Country will invest €1 billion by 2030 to encourage local production of solar panels and offshore wind turbines
- Government will simplify regulatory processes to accelerate the expansion of renewable energy technologies
French President Emmanuel Macron has said his country will multiply its installed solar power capacity to exceed 100 GW by 2050 as solar energy is cheaper and fits more easily into the landscape, referring to its versatility, while offshore wind will be expanded to around 40 GW, from practically nothing as of now.
Macron also said his government will invest €1 billion by 2030 to encourage innovation in renewable energies. “The next technologies for solar panels and offshore wind turbines will thus be French and European. Calls for projects will be released in the next few days,” stated the President in his speech for the country’s energy mix in the future.
This industrial self-sufficiency in the production of renewable energy equipment will also generate jobs and lower the country’s reliance on foreign supply chains.
The news came in early February as as side to France’s announcement to add up to 14 new nuclear power plants until 2050. However, Macron framed it in his speech that nuclear energy is one of the 2 pillars for the country’s energy security, with the other being renewable energy led by solar and wind power technologies. Macron said renewable energy needs to be ‘massively’ developed simply because these technologies don’t take years to start generating power unlike a nuclear reactor.
Macron admitted the ‘regulatory layers’ that can delay renewable energy projects, eventually impacting their profitability and leading to conflict. Hence, his government will ensure to simplify regulatory procedures to support such projects.
Macron’s complete speech can be read on the government website in French language.
The French President’s speech was welcomed by local solar energy association Enerplan as ‘recognition by the highest authority of the state’ for solar energy’s role in the national energy mix in the future.
“For the first time, a President of the Republic is showing the massive role of solar energy in the future electricity mix. What a long way since 2011, the year of the moratorium when the sector almost disappeared. More than ever, we are mobilized to catch up with the delay taken by France and reach this objective of 100 GW in 2050, or +5 GW/year of new connected solar capacity,” declares Daniel Bour, President of Enerplan.
However, Macron’s renewables plan pales in comparison to France’s eastern neighbors Germany, which has already installed around 60 GW PV today, and just announced to expand its capacity to a level twice as big as France but 20 years earlier – 200 GW by 2030.
Till September 2021, cumulative installed solar PV capacity of France reached only 13.2 GW, according to the government’s Statistical Studies Department (SDES) (see France Added Over 2 GW Solar In 9M/2021).