New French President Outlines His Green Policies

In September, an environmental conference in France took place setting the policy of the new President, Mr. François Hollande and his government.

This posts present the various points and how they differ or are in the line of the previous government and its Grenelle de l’Environnement.

Shale gas and oil

Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, was banned by the previous government has it was seen as a dangerous technique. The new government confirms this and will reject any permit to investigate.


President Hollande declared that the nuclear power plant of Fessenheim will be closed by late 2016. The oldest reactor of the country started in 1977. It had two minor incidents this year and is located in an earthquake zone.

François Hollande’s socialist government – allied with the local Greens – want nuclear to go from 75 percent of the current electricity mix to 50 percent by 2025.

If the country is to keep its relatively low carbon electricity, this will have to spur a massive growth of renewable energy and energy efficiency.

Support for renewable energies

New tenders for solar and offshore wind power will be launched before the end of year.

Renewable energy currently makes up 13 percent of France’s energy mix, well below the 23-percent target set by former president Nicolas Sarkozy for 2020.

The previous government had increased the solar capacity by a factor of a hundred (from 30 MW to 3 GW) and had launched call for tenders by 3 GW of offshore wind by 2015 and 6 GW by 2020.

Improving housings insulation

Weatherizing 500,000 housings per year and 500,000 new ones : this was one of the main campaign claims by Mr. Hollande as four million people live in thermal colanders.

Insulating these dwellings and many more will be a lot of work as there are an estimated 20 million housings to weatherize in France.

Such goals were already in a white book on energy written under Jacques Chirac’s Presidency in 2003. Similar goals were set under Nicolas Sarkozy’s term in 2008 within the Grenelle de l’Environnement.

Both have done very little to this effect. Let’s hope Mr. Hollande will succeed where both his predecessors failed.

Going beyond 2020.

President Hollande wants to cut French emissions by 40 percent by 2030 and 60 percent by 2040.

The previous government had set ambitious goals within the Grenelle de l’Environnement.

While this initiative have had some success, a whole lot more has to be done if France is going to embrace a low carbon economy and the third industrial revolution.

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