President Emmanuel Macron said on Thursday he would cut red tape to halve the time it takes in France to launch renewable projects, stressing that it was crucial at a time when Europe is facing a serious energy crisis in the middle of the war in Ukraine.
Macron, who said in February that he wanted France to have around 50 offshore wind farms by 2050, was visiting the country’s first, built off the coast of Brittany, a project that took ten years to build and which has started to be connected to the network this month.
“It still takes too long in France,” Macron said, adding that he wanted to halve the time needed to develop renewable energy projects.
Until now, Macron had largely focused on plans to further strengthen the nuclear power sector of the world’s most nuclear-powered country, which suffers from corrosion problems.
But after a summer of drought, heat waves and fires, he stressed on Thursday that France must take renewable energy seriously and speed up processes, including reducing the time it takes for judicial authorities to consider complaints that local communities often file against such projects. .
Macron said that while the government encourages more energy sobriety, France should massively increase its power generation capacity as it wants to phase out the use of fossil fuels and replace them with low-carbon energy.
“To do this, we will need around 40% more electricity by 2050,” Macron said.
Macron said he wanted France to double the speed of building wind farms in France.
The government is expected to adopt detailed proposals at a cabinet meeting on Monday.
The government wants the entire process of setting up an offshore wind farm – from early plans to commissioning – to be cut from 10 to 12 years now to six years, officials said, stressing that it this was the average in other European countries.
Other plans include making it easier to find locations to build wind farms or install solar panels. The latter could be built along highways or in parking lots, officials said.
(Reuters – Reporting by Stéphane Mahé; Writing by Ingrid Melander; Editing by GV De Clercq and Nick Zieminski)