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July 28, 2021

European Commission approves French renewable energy scheme

The scheme will support the EU's aim of achieving climate neutrality by 2050.

By Umesh Ellichipuram

The European Commission has approved a scheme put forward by France to support the production of electricity from renewable energy sources.

Approved under European Union (EU) state aid rules, the scheme, worth around €30.5bn ($36bn), is designed to help France achieve its renewable energy targets without distorting competition.

The aid was approved after assessing the European Commission’s 2014 guidelines on state aid for environmental protection and energy.

The scheme will also support the EU in its goal of achieving climate neutrality by 2050.

European Commission executive vice-president in charge of competition policy Margrethe Vestager said: “This aid measure will stimulate the development of key renewable energy sources and support a transition to an environmentally sustainable energy supply in line with the EU Green Deal objectives.

“The selection of the beneficiaries through a competitive bidding process will ensure the best value for taxpayers’ money while maintaining competition in the French energy market.”

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France notified the European Commission of its intent to launch a scheme to support onshore operators of solar, onshore wind and hydroelectric installations in generating power from renewable sources.

The scheme grants will support these operators and be awarded through competitive tenders.

Grants will be awarded for seven types of tenders, to be organised between now and 2026 for a total of 34GW of renewable energy capacity.

These tenders are solar panels on the ground, solar panels on buildings, onshore wind installations, hydroelectric installations, ‘innovative’ solar installations, self-consumption and a technology-neutral tender.

The Commission said that aid can be paid out for a maximum period of 20 years after connecting the new renewable installations to the power grid.

In May, the Commission approved a scheme to support offshore wind farms in Poland.

The scheme, approved under EU state aid rules, is intended to help Poland meet its renewable energy targets.

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