by Daniel J. Graeber
Brussels (UPI) Feb 10, 2017
A move by the French government to budget for more solar and hydropower projects on its grid was endorsed Friday by the European Commission.
The French government said new solar initiatives would receive more than $9 billion in support over the next 20 years, while hydropower schemes are backed by a 20-year $530 million commitment.
The European Commission said it endorsed an effort that would help France meet its 2020 goal of producing 23 percent of its energy needs from renewable resources.
"These French initiatives will stimulate a greater use of renewable energy sources and provide legal certainty to the sector, while limiting the use of state support to the minimum," Margrethe Vestager, a commissioner in charge of competition issues, said in a statement. "This is a very important balance for Europe in the pursuit of our environmental objectives."
The commission found the French measures would advance overall renewable energy efforts without distorting the market.
France has one of the least carbonized electricity sectors among members of the European Union. Most of its renewable power comes from hydroelectric resources.
Last month, French energy company ENGIE said it made an arrangement with the leading insurance company in France to help with the goal of doubling wind power capacity in the country. ENGIE counts an installed wind power capacity of more than 1,700 megawatts in France.
The nod from the European Commission comes as French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron extends an invitation to U.S. climate scientists to come work in the European sector.
Macron said the European doors were open as U.S. President Donald Trump moves his country closer to the fossil fuels industry and away from some of the trends embraced by his European counterparts on climate change.
"France is your nation," he said.
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