Macron during the commissioning of France's first offshore wind farm
Photo: STEPHANE MAHE / AFP
French President Emmanuel Macron is aiming for a much faster expansion of renewable energies.
"I want renewable projects to be realized twice as fast," said Macron at the commissioning of France's first offshore wind farm near Saint-Nazaire.
Laws should be adapted and procedures accelerated.
"Our neighbors have been much faster than us," Macron said of his country's lag in wind energy use.
Although France, excluding its overseas territories, has around 5,500 kilometers of coastline, the offshore park off the coast of Saint-Nazaire in western France is the first of its kind. With 80 wind turbines and an output of 162 megawatts, it is intended to cover the electricity needs of around 300,000 people.
According to Macron, France now wants to create 50 offshore wind farms at sea with an output of 40 gigawatts by 2050.
Macron announced that he would halve the approval periods for renewable energies.
It currently takes around ten years in France before an offshore wind farm can be connected to the grid, twice as long as in Germany.
For wind turbines in rural areas it is seven years, also twice as long as in Germany.
Protests against wind power – Macron lures with cheap electricity
Citizens who live near wind turbines should be able to obtain their electricity more cheaply in the future.
The law also provides for accelerating the connection of the plants to the power grid.
In addition, fallow land, for example on the edge of motorways and railway lines, is to be built on with solar systems.
"This allows us to protect the beauty of our landscapes while continuing to expand renewable energies," said Macron.
In France there are numerous protests against wind turbines of all kinds. A project near Oléron will therefore probably have to be built further away from the coast than planned.
Macron had slowed down the expansion of wind turbines in rural areas in the face of massive protests.
Their production is only to be doubled in 30 years, not within ten years as originally planned.
During the presidential election campaign, right-wing populist Marine Le Pen called for existing plants to be dismantled.
Last year, the share of renewable energy sources in France was 24 percent.
Nuclear power accounted for 69 percent, the share of fossil fuels was seven percent.
At the inauguration of the offshore wind farm, Macron also confirmed his plans to expand nuclear power in France with six to eight planned new power plants.
"Exclusively renewables or exclusively nuclear power, that doesn't work." Macron first formulated this dual strategy in February during a keynote address on energy policy in Belfort.
Accordingly, up to 14 new reactors are to be built.