Can France Succeed its Energy Transition ?

Recently the incumbent Energy and Environment Minister of France unveiled an ambitious energy transition project. As Euractiv reports, the country should ” increase the proportion of renewable energy to 32% by 2030, reduce CO2 emissions by 40% between 1990 and 2030, and reduce the consumption of fossil fuels by 30% by 2030.” 

The previous conservative government had very ambitious projects on energy and the environment with its Grenelle de l’Environnement. Most of this ambition remained that, just ambition (Granted, there were a few successes on energy use and efficiency).

But the current Socialist government goes even further as Segolène Royal claims that the plan she unveiled is the ” most ambitious in all of the European Union ” and should make this country “the country of environmental excellence”. Given how Germany and the others are years ahead, I am not sure if I got to applause at the ambition… or laugh at the delusion.

Speeches are fine, speeches are great, but ACTS are much better. And until now, France has not been measuring up with is ambitions :

While renewable energy sources have surged in large neighbouring countries such as Germany, Italy and Spain – reaching 31, 37 and 35 percent of the local electricity consumption, respectively – France is behind with “only”  18.6 percent.

Worse, within its European obligations, France needs to have 23 percent of its total energy consumption coming from renewables by 2020. To EU statistics, the country had 9.3 percent of its energy from renewables in 2004, 12.7 percent in 2010 and 13.4 percent in 2012. In eight years this share has increased by 4.1 point. If this trend were to continue the country would miss its 2020 objectives by 5.5 points…

To compare, overall, the 28 members of the European Union have seen this share rise from 8.3 percent in 2004 to 14.1 in 2012. A simple trend continuation shows that reaching 20 percent by 2020 is feasible.

In any case, whether France will succeed or fail its energy transition, be sure that I will keep you updated on the situation.


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