Covering European environmental and energy policies for CleanTechies got me thinking lately how France is lagging behind its neighbours. Indeed, in the last few months I have reported rapid development in Portugal, Spain or the United Kingdom.
If France is not one of the last countries in terms of share of electricity from renewable energy – 15 percent – it is still lagging compared to the EU average of 23.4 percent in 2012.
Solar and wind grew rapidly in France between 2008 and 2011 but as I noted in a previous article, since 2012 these renewables have seen their growth slow down to dismal proportions. The exponential rate witnessed previously is no more.
This could change soon as the European Investment Bank (EIB) will provide up to 750 million Euros – around a billion US Dollars – in loans from 2014 to 2016 to renewable energy projects.
As it noted in its official press release, in 2013 the EIB provided 19 billion euros – 26 billion Dollars – in funds for climate change-related projects. This is equal to 26% of all its loans.
These loans will be allocated to projects in wind, solar PV, hydro and geothermal energies. The EIB will work with numerous local banks, including Societe Generale, the BPCE Group and Credit Agricole Group.
The banks will have to find and select the right public or private projects. The loans provided by the EIB will represent 50 percent of the financing of the projects. The limit per project is 50 million euros.
Let’s hope these large amounts of money will significantly boost the energy transition and the creation of green jobs as 3.3 million people are unemployed in France.