The plan of attack for the energy transition in France

The plan of attack for the energy transition in France is ready. The Ministry for Ecological and Solidarity Transition (Ministère de la Transition écologique et solidaire) has unveiled a 10- years energy plan (PPE, Programmation pluriannuelle de l’énergie), which establishes a clear roadmap to decarbonize the energy sector.

Climate change, pollution, waste disposal, safety are some of the consequences of non-renewable energy systems. For years, economic development has been fueled by the predominant use of fossil fuels such as coal, oil, gas and also nuclear energy. If this has been the price governments had to pay to ensure the growth of the economies, the negative effects of non- renewable energy systems have gone beyond a point of no return. Therefore, one of the priorities of environmental policies is to take measures to diversify the energy mix and install safer, cleaner and more sustainable energy supply systems.

Some of the highlights of the program

With regards to renewable energies, the government expects to double the installed power capacity and reach 102-113 GW.  An intermediate goal has also been set: 74 GW in 2023 which would correspond to an increase of 50% when compared to 2017. The aim is to move toward carbon neutrality by 2050.

France promises to halve the production of nuclear energy by 2035. The gradual closure of 14 900 MW reactors is expected from the summer of 2020.

Greenhouse gas emissions will have to be reduced by 30% when compared to 2016 and reach 322 million tons of CO2. Coal plants will be shut down by 2022.

Biogas also plays an important role in the French plan; one of the government strategy is  to increase its production by 55%.

Electrical vehicles will be the future of the transportation industry. The plan calls for a veto on the sale of cars with internal combustion engines by 2040.

To foster the transition, the French energy sector will benefit from a financial support of 7-8 billion euros a year.

The government has also launched a major investment plan (The Big Investment Plan 2018-2022) worth 57 billion euros, which will be implemented over the next five years. One of the main objectives of this plan is to establish carbon neutrality. As building accounts for 20% of the greenhouse gas emissions, the aim is to improve the energy efficiency of housing for low-income households and public buildings. Moreover, 4 billion euros will be allocated to developing new forms of mobility (car-pooling, “soft ” transport, electric mobility and driverless cars) and improve citizen mobility.

In line with the Paris Agreement, the President – Emmanuel Macron, and the Minister of Ecological and Solidarity Transition- Nicolas Hulot, confirm their commitment to the energy transition.

The Multiannual Energy Programme defines the trajectory to follow over the next ten years and the challenges to tackle such reducing greenhouse gas emissions and fight climate change, improve the air quality to reduce the numbers of deaths due to air pollution, establish a new geopolitical power to be no longer dependent on the fluctuation in the price of oil while ensuring a fair and clear energy transition for all.

According to a report of the World Economic Forum, accelerating the energy transition will require coordinated action across economic, technological and sociopolitical systems. Access to energy is at the heart of economic development; modern economies will need will require economic diversification to less energy‑intensive industry sectors, energy efficiency in production processes and increased cooperation between developed and developing countries for technology transfer and capacity building. Furthermore, governments need to foster policies and incentives to deploy new low-carbon technologies at a faster pace and engage consumers to ease adoption. From a sociopolitical point of view, the transition plan should take into consideration those concerns of communities which depend on fossil fuel extraction.

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