Delays in renewable energy cost France billions of dollars
According to a new think-tank study released on Thursday, France loses €6-9 billion in gas imports yearly because it fails to meet the European Union’s renewable energy goals (8 December).
France’s share of renewable energies is 19% of gross final energy consumption, far below the 23% target agreed to by Paris under the EU’s renewable energy directive by 2020.
According to a study conducted by the Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations (IDDRI), the Jacques Delors Institute, the Institute for Climate Economics (I4CE), and the French Observatory of Economic Conjunctures, this shortfall will have to be compensated for by other energy sources (OFCE).
According to Andreas Rüdinger of IDDRI, the cost of France failing to meet its target would be €6-9 billion in gas imports per year, assuming a gas price of between €100 and €150 per megawatt-hour (MWh).
The researcher believes that gas, rather than electricity, is the appropriate metric because “the French shortfall is primarily in the area of renewable heat that could have been substituted for gas or fuel oil.”
He says that the observed shortfall in this sector is 70 terawatt-hours (TWh), whereas these expensive gas imports would provide 65 TWh.
Furthermore, it may be some time before France fills that void because the bill on renewable energy development currently being debated in the National Assembly is silent on the subject, according to Rüdinger.
In addition, to meet the 54% renewable energy target for 2030, France will need to invest an additional €7-11 billion per year, according to I4CE.
Besides, the government will have to spend €500 million to meet its targets by purchasing so-called “statistical megawatts” from the “surplus” generated by other EU countries, such as Italy, to their targets.
However, given the binding nature of these EU targets, there is a risk that France will be sanctioned if they are not met.
When asked by EURACTIV France if sanctions are planned, the European Commission refused to say how much they would cost. “If sanctions are imposed, we will notify you once they are implemented,” a spokesperson said.
According to IDDRI, a financial penalty could be equivalent to the cost of “statistical megawatts.”
Nonetheless, according to I4CE, France would need to invest an additional €30 billion annually to meet its decarbonization targets.
During this year’s presidential campaign, French President Emmanuel Macron promised to increase renewable energy investments and public co-financing by €10 billion per year beginning in 2023.
“According to current discussions between the government and Parliament, the increase will be 3.5 billion.” “A third of what was planned,” says the think tank.