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France plans to ramp up solar energy by 2020

Nov 18, 2008 - Reuters

France pledged on Monday to multiply by 400 the amount of solar power used in the country in the next 12 years as part of its plan to double the share of renewables in consumed energies to 23 percent by 2020.

French Environment and Enenrgy Minister Jean-Louis Borloo presented a total of 50 measures to achieve France's targets, including multiplying production of geothermic power six-fold by installing heat pumps in two million households.

"France's ambition is to play a leading role in the technological revolution which is about to happen in solar power," the environment ministry said in a statement.

The government said it would launch a tender by the end of 2008 to build at least one solar power plant for each of France's regions by 2011 with a combined total capacity of 300 megawatts (MW).

An average nuclear reactor has a power capacity of 900 MW.

France, which relies largely on nuclear energy, has lagged other EU member states such as Spain and Germany when it comes to wind or sun-based energy sources.

France only has 24.5 MW of solar power switched to the grid.

Drastic simplification of red tape and abolishing taxes when the size of solar panels did not exceed 30 square metres were also part of the plan, the ministry said.

The government would also launch a tender in December to build power plants fuelled with biomass which would have a total power capacity of 250 MW, it said.

Planning issues surrounding wind turbines would be improved and the development of offshore wind power would be facilitated through simpler procedures.

"The development of each energy source has to respect the landscape, the cultural heritage, the quality of the oxygen and water and biodiversity," Jean-Louis Borloo said.

(Reporting by Muriel Boselli) Keywords: FRANCE ENERGY/SOLAR

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Updated: 2003/07/28